Notice to Government for non-compliance of Court order
STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: In a contempt petition filed by an octogenarian, Rattan Parkash, the Division Bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Tashi Rabstan issued contempt notices to B.R Sharma, Chief Secretary, M Ashraf, Commissioner/Secretary, Sanjeev Verma, Secretary PHE and Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Abdul Majid Bhat, Secretary to Government, Law Department, Navin Kumar Choudhary, Commissioner/Secretary to Government, Finance Department, Dr Pawan Kotwal Divisional Commissioner, Jammu and H.C Jerath Chief Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control, Jammu, to respond as to why they should not be punished for committing contempt of the Court.
Advocates A K Sawhney and Aseem Sawhney along with Utkarsh Pathania, Neeraj Singh and Ila Sharma represented the petitioner.
Adv Aseem Sawhney submitted before the Court that a PIL was filed by one Balbir Singh seeking inter-alia several reliefs seeking implementation of the J&K Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act 2010 besides other prayers for relief and further submitted that the petitioner herein- filed an application for intervention through CMA 183/2014 and was allowed to intervene. Besides this the petitioner had also filed an application CMA 187/2014 seeking modification of the interim order dated 10th July 2014.
He submitted that the Division Bench finally disposed off the PIL and the operating part of the Judgment “Since the State respondents have failed to disclose about the framing of State Water Policy and Plan/Scheme in terms of the Act, we direct them to frame such policy/scheme for safety, prevention and restoration of wetlands/marshland/ flood channels as well as lands recorded as ‘khads’ in the revenue record as also for preserving the sanctity of river Tawi from being polluted by the waste and toxic water emanating from authorized/unauthorized colonies alongside river Tawi by including stringent and effective measures, positively within a period of two months from today, strictly keeping in view the discussion/observations made herein above. While framing such Water Policy and Plan/Scheme, the State respondents would also take into consideration and strictly follow the observations made by the Apex Court in case, titled as, Jagpal Singh vs State of Punjab, as well as by this Court in case, titled as, Dharm Chand vs State of J&K, 2015. Till the time such policy/scheme is framed by the State Government, order dated 10th July, 2014 and status-quo with respect to such lands/khads shall remain in force….” Advocate Sawhney submitted that Court had directed the respondents to frame a policy/ scheme for such wetlands, khads etc within 2 months from 12th February 2016 and till then the Status Quo was directed to me maintained thereby meaning that the petitioner and other people like the petitioner who have lands recorded as “Gair Mumkin Khad” were deprived of either selling these properties, constructing anything or even mortgaging these properties. Two months lapsed in April 2016 but the respondents have not framed a policy or scheme, therefore compelled under these circumstances several aggrieved persons/ land owners (including petitioner) thus moved a representation to the Minister with copies to most of the respondents apprising them of the situation and sought compliance of the Judgment.
He submitted in the petition that respondents have neither bothered to implement the Judgment of the High Court nor passed any directives or orders which would permit issuance of Fards and thus permit the petitioner or people aggrieved who are hundreds in number, to either sell, buy, transfer or construct over such lands; since there is a status quo passed by this Court and the act of the respondents in not framing a policy within the time frame as provided by the Court is contumacious and therefore the respondents have dared to challenge the majesty of the Court by disobeying and not obeying the direction of this Court, despite remi-nders in writing and personal visits of the people and other aggrieved land owners to the chambers of these respondents and even the Ministers.