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Unfortunate That Some Ex-Ministers/Legislators/Officers, Etc., Are Unauthorizedly Staying In Govt. Residence: J&K High Court

first_imgNews UpdatesUnfortunate That Some Ex-Ministers/Legislators/Officers, Etc., Are Unauthorizedly Staying In Govt. Residence: J&K High Court Sparsh Upadhyay19 Feb 2021 9:16 AMShare This – x”Natural resources, public lands and the public goods, like Government bungalows/official residence are public property that belong to the people of the country” : Jammu & Kashmir High CourtJammu & Kashmir High Court on Thursday (18th February) underlined that natural resources, public lands and the public goods, like Government bungalows/official residence, are public property that belong to the people of the country. The Bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul directed the Jammu & Kashmir government to take all steps for eviction…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginJammu & Kashmir High Court on Thursday (18th February) underlined that natural resources, public lands and the public goods, like Government bungalows/official residence, are public property that belong to the people of the country. The Bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul directed the Jammu & Kashmir government to take all steps for eviction of unauthorized/ illegal occupants (including former Ministers, Legislators, Retired Officers, and Politicians) from Government accommodation and recovery of rent thereof, earlier in point of time. Significantly, the Bench also remarked, “It is unfortunate that some former Ministers/ Legislators/ Retired Officers/ Politicians/ Political persons, etc., have illegally/ unauthorizedly managed to continue to stay in the residential accommodation provided to them by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, though they are no longer entitled to such accommodation” The matter before the Court The Court was hearing a Writ Petition, in ‘Public Interest’, registered as such by the Court on its own motion in terms of order dated 27th October 2020, which revolves around the subject of unauthorized/ illegal occupation of Government accommodation by the erstwhile allottees in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Further, a report was filed by the Government of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir informing the Court that it is in the process of evicting the illegal/ unauthorized occupants (former Ministers/ Legislators/ Retired Officers/ Politicians/ Political persons) in tune with the mandate of law and the rules governing the field. Court’s observations Noting that many of such persons continue to occupy residential accommodation commensurate with the office(s) held by them earlier and which are beyond their present entitlement, the Court said, “The unauthorized occupants must realize that rights and duties go correlative to each other, inasmuch as the rights of one person entail the duties of another person, whereas, the duties of one person entail the rights of another person.” The Court further remarked, “In this context, the unauthorized occupants must appreciate that their act of overstaying in the premise directly infringes the right of another. No law or direction can entirely control this act of disobedience, but for self-realization among the unauthorized occupants.” Notably, the Court also opined that the ‘Doctrine of Equality’, which emerges from the concepts of justice and fairness must guide the State in the distribution/ allocation of the same. The Court said, “Any former Minister/ Legislator/ Retired Officer/ Politician/ Political person, once he/ she demits the office, is on a par with the common citizen, though by virtue of the office held, he/ she may be entitled to security and other protocols as per assessment of the concerned filed agency. But allotment of Government bungalow, to be occupied during the lifetime of such persons, would not be guided by the constitutional principle of equality.” Directions issued by the Court The Plea was disposed of in view of the directions so passed by the Apex Court in the following manner: The directions passed by this Court from time to time in the matter of the eviction of unauthorized/ illegal occupants from Government accommodation and recovery of rent thereof, earlier in point of time shall be strictly implemented by the authorities concerned of the Government of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in the same spirit in which they were meant to be; The Chief Secretary of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the Secretary to Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Estates Department, shall take all possible steps for ensuring eviction of the illegal/ unauthorized occupants (former Ministers/ Legislators/ Retired Officers/ Politicians/ Political persons) from Government accommodation, including Ministerial Bungalows/ Special Houses (Atype, B-type and C-type quarters), in tune with the mandate of law provided by Hon’ble the Supreme Court in the two judgments referred to hereinabove; and The Chief Secretary of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the Secretary to Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Estates Department, shall ensure recovery of rent/ arrears of rent from the occupants of Government accommodation for the period for which they were in authorized/ unauthorized occupation of the said accommodation as Land Revenue Related News A Division Bench of the J&K HC had in 2019 in Thakur Randhir Singh v. State of J&K & Ors., held that an allottee of a Government accommodation, may it be a Government Servant, Minister or a Legislator, is required to vacate the accommodation allotted to after he ceases to hold the official status/position. The Supreme Court has also categorically held in Lok Prahari v. State of Uttar Pradesh, that Government houses cannot be allotted to these persons. In December 2020, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had reprimanded the Government authorities of the Union Territory for allotting government accommodations to former Chief Minister, MLAs, MPs, bureaucrats and private persons, in contravention of its previous directions. Significantly, in response to an application filed under the Right to Information Act (RTI Act) seeking details about Supreme Court Justice (Retired) Arun Mishra’s overstay in his official Bungalow, the Supreme Court has recently revealed that information in this regard cannot be provided as the same are exempt under Section 8 (1) (j) & Section 11 (1) of the RTI Act. The specific query raised in the RTI Application was:- “If Justice Arun Mishra has not yet vacated the official residence on retirement, please provide the reason for not vacating the official residence in accordance with the supreme Court Judges Rules. Please provide details of amount paid in rent for overstay in official residence.” To this, the Supreme Court has replied, “The reason as sought cannot be provided as the same as the same are exempt under Section 8 (1) (j) & Section 11 (1) of the RTI Act.” Case title -Court on its own motion v. Union Territory of JK & Ors. [WP(C) PIL No.24/2020]Click Here To Download JudgmentRead JudgmentSubscribe to LiveLaw, enjoy Ad free version and other unlimited features, just INR 599 Click here to Subscribe. All payment options available.loading….Next Storylast_img read more

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