Pursuant to an high court order, the estates department had filed a compliance report regarding whether or not the 35 occupants possessed alternative residences
Jammu A division bench of the high court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh comprising chief justice N Kotiswar Singh and justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi on Saturday directed the administration to furnish additional information about 13 former ministers and legislators who continue to occupy their government accommodation in Jammu and Srinagar.
Pursuant to an high court order, the estates department had filed a compliance report regarding whether or not the 35 occupants possessed alternative residences.
During the hearing of the PIL highlighting retention of government accommodation by 48 former ministers and legislators, advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed, appearing for petitioner SK Bhalla submitted that the compliance report filed by senior additional advocate general SS Nanda pertains to 35 occupants only, leaving out 13 persons.
Ahmed submitted that the total names mentioned in the status report submitted by the estates department are 38.
It was submitted that former minister Sunil Sharmahad not filed reply to an estate department notice seeking details of his alternatie residential property at Jammu or Srinagar, if any.
No replies were filed by former MLAs Bashir Ahmed Dar and Mohd Amin Bhat. A response filed by former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad stated that he had no residential property in Jammu. However, in the list filed by Ahmed, it was mentioned that Azad has a 21,600 squatre foot house at Hyderpora Bypass in Srinagar. The report said that former deputy chief minister Muzzaffar Hussain Baig does not possess any alternative house at Jammu.
However, in the list filed by Ahmed, it was submitted that the Baig has a house at Brane Nishat in Srinagar. Ravinder Raina, Jammu and kashmir president of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), also submitted that he had no house in Jammu, contrary to Ahmad’s list which said the latter had a house at Simbal Camp in Jammu.
The same contradiction was seen in responses by GM Saroori and Sajad Gani Lone and Ahmad’s list. Ahmed submitted that the status report by did not mention 13 occupants, Sunil Sharma, Bashir Ahmed Dar, Mohammad Amin Bhat, Shamsher Singh Manhas, Chander Mohan Gupta, Bali Bhagat, Sofi Yousaf, Fayaz Ahmed Mir, Sonaullah Lone, Muzzaffar Shah, Vikram Randhawa, Yasar Reshi and Reyaz Ahmed Mir.
Ahmed further submitted that the Estates Department was deliberately delaying the matter. The bench observed, “SS Ahmed, learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the report submitted by Nanda, counsel representing the respondents, pertains to 35 persons only, whereas the actual occupants are 48, thus in respect of 13 persons the details are missing. Be that as it may, Nanda may furnish the information about the remaining persons and thereafter the matter be listed on December 15.”
The matter is listed to ne next heard on December 15.