STATE TIMES NEWS JAMMU: A Division Bench of J&K High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar on Wednesday directed AAG Aseem Sawhney appearing for the J&K Govt (Estates Department) to file a status report within a period of four weeks in the petition highlighting illegal occupation of Ministerial Bungalows/A-Type Kothis by Ex-Ministers/Ex-MLAs in Jammu and Srinagar. After hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel appearing in the PIL filed by social activist Prof. S.K. Bhalla, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal through Video Conferencing issued notices to the Secretary to the Govt of J&K, Hospitality & Protocol; Estates Department and Civil Aviation; Director Estates, J&K and Deputy Director Estates, Jammu which were accepted by AAG Aseem Sawhney. The Division Bench also issued notice in the Miscellaneous Petition and further directed the AAG to apprise the court about the view taken by the J&K Govt in the instant matter. Advocate Ahmed vehemently argued that despite the fall of BJP-PDP Govt in June 2018, the erstwhile Ministers/Legislators did not vacate the Ministerial Bungalows/A-Type Kothis both at Jammu as well as at Srinagar and their illegal occupation continues till date and the Estates Department miserably failed to get the official accommodations vacated. Advocate Ahmed further submitted that the Ex-Ministers/Ex-MLAs lost their entitlement to remain in the Ministerial Bungalows/A-Type Kothis after they ceased to be public men but the Estates Department failed to discharge its duties solely for the reason that the illegal occupants belong to a party which is in power in the Centre. Later, Division Bench directed the Registry to re-notify the instant PIL on October 7, 2020. Amicus Curie Monika Kohli was also present at the time of hearing through Video Conferencing.
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