HC dismisses former MLA’s plea on govt accommodation

Directs petitioners to vacate properties within 1 month
HC dismisses former MLA’s plea on govt accommodation
GK File Photo of J&K High Court Srinagar/Mubashir Khan

J&K High Court has dismissed a petition praying for allowing the petitioners to continue to occupy the accommodation in MLA hostel here.

In the plea, former MLA Kafil-Ur-Rehman and others had sought to quash eviction notice dated 05.02.2020, while praying for allowing them to continue to occupy the accommodation which they claimed were in their possession for last more than two decades.

While dismissing the petition, a bench of Justice Ali Muhammad Magarey observed that any minister, legislator, officer or politician is on a par with the common citizen once he demits his or her office.

"The allotment of government bungalow, to be occupied during the lifetime of such persons, would not be guided by the constitutional principle of equality," the court said.

The court termed it as "unfortunate" that some former ministers, legislators, retired officers and politicians have "unauthorizedly managed to continue to stay in the government residential accommodation though they are no longer entitled to such accommodation".

Pointing out that the unauthorized occupants must appreciate that their act of overstaying in the premise directly infringes the right of another, the court said: "No law or direction can entirely control this act of disobedience, but for self-realization among the unauthorized occupants".

"Natural resources, public lands and the public goods, like government bungalows/ official residence are public property that belong to the people of the country," it said.

Observing that the petitioners were in possession and occupation of the premises on the interim order, the court said the same makes it manifest that the eviction proceedings were hijacked by them.

"The stay order obtained by the petitioners cannot be allowed to run till eternity, thereby prejudicing the interests and rights of those who are waiting in queue having earned a right for allotment of such government accommodation," it said.

Dismissing the petition, the court asked the petitioners to hand over the possession of the government accommodation within one month. It also asked the government to recover "appropriate rent" from the petitioners for the period during which they were in "authorized or unauthorized" occupation of the same.

With regard to contention of the petitioners about threat perception to their life and liberty, the court said they are at liberty to approach the competent authority in the government for seeking redressal of the grievance.

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