HC seeks details of left out 13 occupants as Govt furnished detail of 35
STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: A Division Bench of the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh at Jammu through virtual mode comprising Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Moksha Kazmi Khajuria on Saturday directed Sr. AAG S.S. Nanda, appearing for Estates Department to furnish additional information about 13 occupants including ex-Ministers, Legislators, who are still in occupation of government accommodation at Jammu and Srinagar.
Pursuant to order dated October, 18, 2023, passed by the Division Bench in the much publicized Public Interest Litigation, the Estates Department has filed a compliance report indicating the reply of 35 occupants as to whether they possess any alternate residential accommodation at Jammu or Srinagar.
When this PIL highlighting retention of Govt. accommodation by 48 Ex-Ministers, Legislators came up for hearing, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Rahul Raina, Supriya Chouhan, Mohd Zulkarnain Chowdhary and Syed Majid Shah appearing for the petitioner submitted that the compliance report filed by Senior AAG S.S. Nanda pertains to 35 occupants only and the information, details in respect of 13 persons are missing.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that the total names mentioned in the status report are 38 but with regard to Sunil Sharma Former Minister, it is mentioned that the said occupant has not filed his reply to the notice issued by the Estates Department to ascertain whether he possesses any alternate residential accommodation at Jammu or Srinagar. Similarly no replies came to be filed by Bashir Ahmed Dar Ex-MLA and Mohd Amin Bhat Ex-MLA meaning thereby only 35 occupants responded to the communications issued by the Estates Department to ascertain as to whether they possess any alternative accommodation at Jammu/Srinagar.
In the status report with regard to Former C.M. Ghulam Nabi Azad, it is submitted that response was filed by him on September, 22, 2023 stating therein that he does not possess any house at Jammu whereas in the list filed by Advocate S.S. Ahmed he has categorically mentioned that Former C.M. has a residential house at Hyderpora Bye-Pass, Srinagar in Survey No.749/1384/727 total area 21600 sqft and built up area 3600 sqft. With regard to Muzzaffar Hussain Beigh Ex-MP/Ex-Deputy C.M. the status report says that the Former Deputy C.M. has stated that he does not possess any house at Jammu whereas in the list filed by Advocate Ahmed it is submitted that the Former Deputy C.M. has a three storied residential house at Brane Nishat, Srinagar.
With regard to Former Speaker/Former Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta, the status report says that the Former Dy CM has admitted that he has a ancestral house at Janipur, Jammu which has been occupied by other family members i.e. brothers. With regard to Ravinder Raina, State President BJP, the said Ex-Legislator in his response has denied that he does not possess any house at Jammu, whereas in the list filed by Advocate S.S. Ahmed it is submitted that reportedly Ravinder Raina has constructed a new house at Simbal Camp, Jammu. With regard to Former Minister G.M. Saroori, his response says that he does not possess any house at Jammu, whereas in the list filed by Advocate S.S. Ahmed it is clearly mentioned that G.M. Saroori has a residential house at Prem Nagar, Jammu in Khasra No.330 min and at Nowgam, Srinagar a residential house is under construction.
The Legislators Neelam Langeh, Dalip Singh Parihar, Sheikh Ishfaq Jabbar, Sat Sharma (Former Minister), R.S. Pathania, Family of Late Ex-MLA Rajesh Gupta, Moulvi Imran Raza Ansari, Ravinder Sharma (Ex-MLC), Vibodh Gupta (Ex-MLC), Pardeep Sharma (Ex-MLC), Tariq Ahmed Keen (Political Person), Family of Wazira Begum (Political Person), Shilpi Verma (Political Person), Shafiq Mir (Chairman, Panchayat Conference) in their response to the Estates Department have submitted that they do not possess any house at Jammu.
M.Y. Tarigami (Ex-MLA CPIM), Sajad Gani Lone (Ex-Minister), Surinder Ambardar (Ex-MLC), Hakeem Mohammad Yasin (Ex-MLA), Abdul Majid Padder (Ex-MLA JKPC), M.S. Pandithpuri (Ex-MLA PDP), Zaffar Iqbal Manhas (Ex-MLC JKAP), Abdul Gani Vakil (Ex-MLC JKAP), Haji Ab. Rashid (Ex-MLA INC), Ab. Rahim Rather (Ex-MLA JKAP), Shoaib Nabi Lone (Ex-MLA JKAP), Mohammad Abbas (Ex-MLA JKAP), Raja Manzoor (Ex-MLA JKAP), Nizam-u-Din Bhat (Ex-Vice Chairperson JKPC), Zahid Hussan Jan (District President Congress), S.S. Channi (Political Person Congress) all these Ex-Legislators/Politicians in their response to the Estates Department stated that they do not possess any house at Srinagar whereas in the list furnished by Advocate S.S. Ahmed it is clearly stated that Sajad Gani Lone has a residential building in joint ownership at 1, Rawalpora Colony, Srinagar in Survey No.2947/2118.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed submitted that the status report is silent about 13 occupants viz. Sunil Sharma (Ex-Minister), Bashir Ahmed Dar, Mohammad Amin Bhat, Shamsher Singh Manhas (Ex-M.P), Chander Mohan Gupta (Ex-Mayor JMC), Bali Bhagat (Ex-Health Minister), Sofi Yousaf (Ex-MLC), Fayaz Ahmed Mir (Ex-M.P), Sonaullah Lone (Political Person), Muzzaffar Shah (General Secretary, Awami National Conference), Vikram Randhawa (Ex-MLC), Yasar Reshi (Ex-MLC) and Reyaz Ahmed Mir (Political Person).
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that Estates Department is deliberately delaying the matter and for this reason incomplete information was submitted to the Court when categoric directions had been issued by the Division Bench vide its order dated September, 13, 2023 whereby the Division Bench had directed both Advocate S.S. Ahmed and Senior AAG S.S. Nanda to furnish the list of 48 occupants with regard to their alternate accommodation/house either in Jammu or in Kashmir.
After considering the submissions of Advocate S.S. Ahmed appearing for the petitioner, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice N. Kotiswar Singh observed, “S.S. Ahmed, Counsel for the petitioner submits that the report submitted by Nanda, Counsel representing the respondents, pertains to thirty five (35) number of persons only, whereas the actual occupants are forty eight (48), thus in respect of thirteen (13) persons the details are missing. Be that as it may, Nanda, may furnish the additional information about the remaining persons and thereafter the matter be listed on December, 15, 2023.”