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first_imgNews UpdatesIllegal Occupation of Govt Accommodation By Ex-Ministers, Private Persons: Jammu & Kashmir High Court Raps Govt Authorities; Seeks ATR LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK23 Dec 2020 4:08 AMShare This – xThe Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday 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. 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…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?LoginThe Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday 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. 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. A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Bindal and Justice Sanjay Dhar recounted that the Supreme Court has also categorically held in Lok Prahari v. State of Uttar Pradesh, that Government houses cannot be allotted to these persons. Thus, taking strict view against violation of Court orders, the Court has directed the concerned authorities to submit and action taken report, indicating the steps taken to evict such illegal occupants, recover arrears of rent, electricity and water dues. “On or before the next date of hearing, this Court be apprised of the Government accommodation in possession of persons other than Government employees or the persons entitled to as per Rules at places other than Jammu and Srinagar, the steps taken to evict them, recover arrears of rent, electricity and water dues,” the order states. The Bench was hearing a PIL filed by Professor SK Bhalla, who claimed that this type of encroachment had been going on for years despite there being previous judgements from different Courts. During a hearing held on 5th December, the Court had taken note of the Jammu and Kashmir Estates Department (Allotment of Government Accommodation) Regulations, 2004, which precludes any person to continue to occupy the official government accommodation after they cease to hold office. The Court had therefore asked the respondents to give complete details regarding the names of the persons still occupying these accommodations and the expense incurred by the Government. [Eviction Of Unauthorised Occupants Of Govt. Accommodation] J&K HC Grants 10 Days’ Time To Govt. To File Status/Compliance Report [Read Order] When the matter was taken up on Tuesday, the Court perused a report filed by the Director Estates, J&K and was constrained to take not of the glaring details of how the public properties and public money is being misutilized. The Bench, for instance, noted that a ministerial bungalow has been provided to the family of ex-Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Late GM Shah. At the time of the hearing, it was brought to the Court’s notice that the family of late G.M. Shah owns a house at Srinagar. In this context, the Court asked, “Where was the need to allot house to the family of late G. M. Shah, ex-Chief Minister at Jammu, when the family owns accommodation at Srinagar and is residing there.” The status report further disclosed that 72 such unqualified people had been given government accommodations, including certain advocates, political workers and ex-Public Prosecutors. “All the 72 allottees of the government accommodation, to which apparently they don’t have any right in view of the judgment of Hon’ble the Supreme Court, there are lakhs of rupees due on account of electricity and water charges. Total amount due from them is ₹56,89,524.00… …the total amount due on account of rent from occupants of these houses is ₹ 55,70,535/-. Besides this, a sum of ₹ 78,71,000/- has been spent by the Government on repair and maintenance of the houses in possession of the aforesaid persons,” the Court observed in this context. The Court also noted that some of these people were provided with security cover and the monthly expense for only nine such cases was calculated to be ₹ 32,44,713/-. Along with this, farash/ servant/ Gardner/ Supervisor were also allotted at these accommodations to these 72 people and the total monthly expenses incurred is ₹ 7,93,049/-. However, the Bench noted that under law or under any rules, no such servants can be provided to a person who is not a government employee or otherwise entitled to. Thus, it directed the authorities to apprise the Court of the rules or regulations under which staff has been provided to the aforesaid 72 persons at the state expenses without being entitled to the same. It also needs to be explained as to why the aforesaid amount be not recovered from those persons. Furthermore, it directed the departments who are responsible for managing the Government residential accommodations to upload the details of all such accommodations given in the UT on their website, including the names and details of the persons in occupation thereof. The Court added that the details about whether these persons are serving government employees, retired or are political persons should also be included on the website. The Additional Advocate General assured the Court that a Security Review Committee will assess the security provided to these persons and suitable actions will be taken. Moreover, he also stated that actions will be taken in furtherance of the rules and judgements laid down by the Supreme Court in the Lok Prahari case and the Division Bench of the J&K High Court in Thakur Randhir Singh v. State of J&K, for eviction of these occupants. Related News The Uttarakhand High Court, on 9th June 2020, declared that the Uttarakhand Former Chief Ministers Facility Act, 2019 which allows former chief ministers of the State to stay in government bungalows without paying market rent, is “ultra vires”. The division bench comprised by Chief Justice Ramesh Ranganathan and Justice RC Khulbe had held that a Chief Minister, once he demits office, is on par with the common man and is not entitled to any preferential treatment, other than security and other protocols. Case Title: Prof. SK Bhalla v. Union Territory of J&K & Ors. ClickHere To Download Order Read OrderNext Storylast_img read more