HC allows BSNL's appeal

Greater Kashmir

‘Maintain Status-Quo Till Petition Is Decided’

Srinagar, Sep 2: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday allowed an appeal by BSNL against a single bench order refusing to grant stay on the operation of government to dispossess land from BSNL at Rambagh here.
 Announcing its decision on the appeal, which the court had reserved earlier, a division bench of High Court comprising Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice D S Thakur, held “We feel that the petitioner did have a prima facie case in its favour. The refusal to grant interim order would result in irreparable loss, entitling it to a protective order with a view to prevent its dispossession and consequent disruption of services being provided by it”.
 Setting aside the order which a Single bench had passed on April 25, 2013, the division bench said the status quo shall be maintained on spot till the petition is considered and decided finally by the single bench preferably within a period of two months. The division bench however said the single bench should proceed to consider the controversy on its own merits without being influenced by any observation made by it (DB).
 On July 29, the High Court had reserved decision on an appeal by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited, challenging a single bench order which had dismissed its application seeking stay on land acquisition at Rambagh here by the state government.
 Nazir Ahmad Beigh, standing counsel for BSNL, had argued that the government had acquired the land at Rambagh not for the construction of flyover but for the rehabilitation of displaced shopkeepers.
  Zahoor Ahmad Alaqband, standing counsel for Economic Reconstruction Agency (ERA) in his counter argument said that the land had been acquired for public purpose.
  On April 25 this year a single bench had rejected an application of the BSNL seeking stay on government’s move to dispossess it of the patch of land at Rambagh.
 The BSNL claims that the erstwhile Posts and Telegraphs (P&T) department had acquired land measuring 17 kanals and 3 marlas at Rambagh in Srinagar in 1980, out of which BSNL was given 8 kanals and 11.5 marlas.
  It also claims that the land purchased by the BSNL is for public purposes and the corporation has spent crores of rupees on the equipment installed on the land.
  As per the documents which BSNL has furnished in the court in support of its claim, the land was purchased against a payment of Rs 6,46,720 in terms of award no. 820/LAC dated March 28, 1980.
 The BSNL has challenged the compulsory acquisition of land by the state government for construction of the flyover from Jehangir Chowk to Natipora via Rambagh.