SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir High Court reiterated that it was very unfortunate that some former ministers, legislators, retired officers, politicians, etc., have illegally and unauthorizedly managed to continue to stay in the residential accommodation provided to them by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, though they are no longer entitled to such accommodation.
“Many of such persons continue to occupy residential accommodation commensurate with the office(s) held by them earlier and which are beyond their present entitlement,” a bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey said while dismissing a petition filed by former National Conference MLA from Karnah Kafil-Ur-Rehman and others, seeking court’s direction to allow them to occupy the present accommodation which they are in possession for last more than two decades in MLA Hostel, MA Road here.
“The unauthorized occupants must realize that rights and duties go correlative to each other, inasmuch as the rights of one person entail the duties of another person, whereas, the duties of one person entail the rights of another person,” the court said, adding, “In this context, the unauthorized occupants must appreciate that their act of overstaying in the premise directly infringes the right of another. No law or direction can entirely control this act of disobedience, but for self-realization among the unauthorized occupants.”
The court said that the natural resources, public lands and the public goods, like Government
Bungalows, official residence are public property that belongs to the people of the country.
“The ‘Doctrine of Equality’, which emerges from the concepts of justice and fairness, must guide the State in the distribution/ allocation of the same. Any former Minister/ Legislator/ Retired Officer/ Politician/ Political person, once he/ she demits the office, is on a par with the common citizen, though by virtue of the office held, he/ she may be entitled to security and other protocols as per the assessment of the concerned filed agency,” the court said as per GNS, adding, “ But 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 that it was of the considered view that there was no merit in the petition and accordingly dismissed it.
“Interim direction(s), if any subsisting as on date, shall stand vacated. As a necessary corollary, the continuous occupation/ possession of the Government accommodation in question by the petitioners is held to be bad in law,” the court said, adding, “The petitioners thus, shall, if still in occupation, hand over the possession of the said Government accommodation occupied by them within one month from today and the Government, in turn, shall also recover appropriate rent from the petitioners for the period during which they were in authorized/ unauthorized occupation of the same.”
The court however, made clear here that insofar as the contention of the petitioners regarding threat perception to the life and liberty of their own self as well as their family members is concerned, the petitioners shall be at liberty to approach the competent authority in the Government of Jammu and Kashmir for seeking redressal of this grievance.