Newly constructed transit camp at Vessu Kulgam: HC directs Govt to evict unauthorised KP occupants

However, the court asked the authorities to provide a week’s time to the petitioners to vacate the premises on their own.
The court noted that the petitioners occupied, locked and took possession of the residential quarters constructed by the Government while retaining their earlier accommodation.
The court noted that the petitioners occupied, locked and took possession of the residential quarters constructed by the Government while retaining their earlier accommodation.Screengrab

Srinagar: The J&K and Ladakh High Court on Tuesday asked the government to evict all the unauthorised occupants in the newly constructed complex at transit camp Vessu in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district.

Dismissing a batch of petitions filed by Kashmiri Pandits (KPs), a bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar also asked SHO police station concerned to register an FIR, if not already registered, against the petitioners for having entered upon and occupied the under construction quarters at migrant colony, Vessu, illegally.

While the court directed the authorities concerned to take requisite steps to evict all the unauthorised occupants of the new residential quarters in the newly constructed complex at Transit camp Vessu, it said: “This is so directed as the petitioners do not dispute that they have entered the public premises without any authority.

However, the court asked the authorities to provide a week’s time to the petitioners to vacate the premises on their own.

The court asked the authorities to evict them by "using as much force as may be required to accomplish violence free eviction of the petitioners,”if they fail to do so. "The employers of the petitioners are also free to initiate disciplinary proceedings in terms of the Rules of 1956 against the petitioners for committing misconduct."

The petitioners had called in question a communication by Tehsildar Relief & Rehabilitation (Migrants), Srinagar, dated 17 January 2021, directing the SHO of Police Station Qazigund, Kulgam to register an FIR against the petitioners for having entered upon and occupied the under construction quarters at Migrant Colony, Vessu, illegally.

Besides seeking to adopt a reasonable criteria for allotment of accommodation to the migrant employees appointed under Prime Minister’s Special Package for rehabilitation and return of the migrants to the Valley, they had voiced their grievance against the manner in which the authorities had made the allotment of 200 and odd units that have come up at Transit Camp Vessu.

In reply to the petitions, the Department of Relief and Rehabilitation submitted that petitioners, who are already having pre-fab accommodation at Transmit Camp Vessu, have “illegally and unauthorisedly entered into the under construction quarters and are, therefore, rank trespassers.”

“It is true that accommodation provided to the petitioners is a prefab structure, but it consists of two bedrooms, attached kitchen with modern fitment and bathroom. The petitioners, if at all, they were dissatisfied with the accommodation allotted to them or they were of the view that the accommodation allotted to them sans basic amenities, they could have thrown challenge to Government order dated 09.05.2018 laying down criteria for allotment of new accommodation to the migrant employees,” the court said, adding, “but they thought that they are law unto themselves and being migrants are permitted to violate law and occupy the government property wherever they find it existing.I cannot help appreciating the guts of the petitioners, who, while being in regular government service, dared to enter the government quarters without having any allotment or authorization from any authority of the Government whatsoever.”

The court noted that the petitioners occupied, locked and took possession of the residential quarters constructed by the Government while retaining their earlier accommodation.

“Such lawlessness, if permitted by the Courts, will lead to chaos in the society which, in turn, would put the rule of law in peril,” the court said, adding, “It is, thus necessary for the police power of the State to come heavily on those for whom the breach of law is like playing with a toy”.

“Not only the petitioners took law into their own hands, and while being public servants committed the offence of criminal trespass, but they had the cheeks to approach this Court to seek protection and ratification of their illegitimate act amounting to commission of a criminal offence,” the court said.

Observing that the petitioners do not deserve any lenience or protection from the Courts of law, the bench said: “The Tehsildar Relief and Rehabilitation (migrants) Kashmir was absolutely correct and otherwise duty bound to approach the SHO concerned to lodge an FIR against those, who had trespassed in the Government property during the intervening night of 16/17 of January 2021.”

The Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner, Jammu has rightly called upon the employers of the petitioners to initiate disciplinary action under the provisions of the Rules of 1956 for the acts and omissions of the petitioners, the court said. “The respondents, asking the Deputy Commissioner to ensure that trespassers are not provided electricity or water connection, committed no illegality, rather upheld the rule of law.”

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