Land for office | HC directs Govt to payback nearly Rs 17 lakh to NC

 J&K High Court, Srinagar
J&K High Court, SrinagarMubashir Khan/GK File

Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh on Thursday directed the government to repay National Conference Rs 16,66,668 with admissible rates of interest for failure to provide land to the grand old party for construction of the office in north Kashmir’s Baramulla.

“The allotted land is still in possession of the respondents (authorities) and they are well within their right to terminate the lease, if any, executed,” a bench of Justice Sanjeev Kumar said.

 Disposing of the plea filed by the NC through its counsel Mir Suhail, the bench said the authorities “however, cannot refuse to release the amount which is duly deposited with them by the petitioner. The Court directed the authorities, in particular the Finance Secretary, to immediately release Rs 16,66,668 in favour of NC preferably within a period of six weeks. “The petitioner is also entitled to interest at the bank rate which is paid for the money deposited in the savings account,” the court added.

In the plea the old-grand party through its Provincial Secretary Showkat Ahmad Mir had submitted that National Conference was in need of land for constructing office building at Baramulla and the party as such approached the government for allotment of land on lease basis in Ushkara Baramulla.

The officials after processing the case for allotment of land, the party said, identified the state land measuring 01 Kanal 13 marlas and 03 sirsai at village Ushkara the party said that the officials accorded sanction for allotment of the said state land on lease basis for a period of 40 years in the first instance in favour of it through Sheikh Nazir Ahmad, the then General Secretary on 17 February 2010 against an amount of Rs16,66,668 which was deposited with Deputy Commissioner Baramulla.

The party contended that Tehsildar concerned was directed by the Deputy on January 23, 2014 to visit the spot and handover possession of the land on spot to it.

In response, Tehsildar concerned submitted report on 23-04-2014 wherein it was stated that as per the revenue record, land measuring 02 Kanals 10 Marles was recorded in the name of Military, out of which only 01 Kanal 11 Marlas was under the occupation of Military on spot.

“The Army Officers who were present on spot, did not allow handing over of the possession to J&K National Conference on the pretext that the deficiency of land measuring 19 Marias be released in favour of Army from the Khasra number", NC said, adding, “Since the land was not handed over to the petitioner (NC), the petitioner as such made a representation to (Deputy Commissioner Baramulla) requesting that the amount of Rs 16,66,668 deposited by the National Conference for leased land measuring 01 Kanal 13 marlas and 03 Sirsai be returned along with bank interest accrued on this amount”.

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