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Overstaying in Govt accommodations: J&K Admin moves HC to defer action against occupants

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Jammu: Citing the Model Code of Conduct, Jammu and Kashmir estates department on Thursday sought permission from the high court to defer action till June 4 against politicians overstaying in government accommodations.
Senior Additional Advocate General S S Nanda filed the application in the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, days after the estates department served showcause notices to former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, and ex-deputy chief ministers Kavinder Gupta and Muzaffar Hussain Beigh for overstaying in government accommodations in Jammu and Srinagar.
The show-cause notices were served to the overstaying occupants, who also included J&K BJP chief Ravinder Raina and several former ministers and ex-legislators, in response to the recent directions of the division bench of the high court in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), seeking eviction of overstaying politicians from government bungalows.
According to the showcause notices issued on April 8, the concerned politicians were asked to appear before the director (estates) in the twin capital cities of Srinagar and Jammu in person or through virtual mode for giving the written response along with the documentary evidence, if any, in support of continuation of accommodations of allotment within 10 days.
On April 3, the division bench headed by Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh had directed both the directors (estates), Jammu as well as Kashmir to deal with each and every person and to pass specific individual orders either for cancellation of accommodation and eviction from there or allotment thereof by giving specific reasons for doing so.
The bench had further clarified that if the accommodation of any individual mentioned in the report is continued, specific reasons supported by necessary materials must be provided before this Court so that it can examine as to whether the authorities have taken an appropriate and fair decisions as regards government accommodation being presently provided to these persons.
Nanda filed the application seeking modification of the division bench order on the ground that the Estates Department without losing time proceeded in the matter and issued notices to the occupants under reference in the PIL.
The senior additional advocate general further submitted that in view of the enforcement of Model Code of Conduct after the announcement of the Lok Sabha election schedule, there may be legal impediment in calling such occupants and passing appropriate orders on merit, in furtherance of the directions passed by the high court.
The Estates Department has sought the permission to defer the proceedings till June 4 and thereafter the process will be taken to its logical conclusion to meet the directions issued by the Court, he said.
The division bench had also directed both the directors of estates department to inform the court about the rentals being paid by the occupants with supporting documents since the time they ceased to hold the offices on the basis of which they were allotted these official accommodations and why they have not charged rental at commercial rates since they are not holding any office as of now.
The case will come for hearing on May 8 again.

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