STATE TIMES NEWSJAMMU: In the much publicised Public Interest Litigation (PIL No.17/ 2020) seeking directions to Secretary to Government, Estates Department, Director Estates J&K and Deputy Director Estates Jammu to ensure eviction of illegal occupants (ex-Ministers/ex-MLAs) from Ministerial Bungalows/A-Type Kothis situated at Jammu/Srinagar, the Government of Jammu and Kashmir failed to comply directions issued by the Division Bench of J&K High Court on July 8, 2020.After hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed appearing for PIL whereas Senior AAG Seema Shekhar appearing for Government of J&K, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and First Puisne Judge Justice Rajesh Bindal expressed surprise over non-filing of status report despite lapse of almost three months. The Division Bench, on request of Senior AAG Seema Shekhar, issued directions for filing of status report positively within four weeks from today and also granted time to petitioner to file rejoinder before the next date i.e., December, 1, 2020.Pertinent to mention here that AAG Aseem Sawhney had accepted the notices on behalf of Government of J&K, wherein AAG had been directed to place before the Court the action taken report by Government of J&K on representation dated May 30, 2020 made by petitioner seeking eviction of ex-Ministers/ ex-MLAs from Ministerial Bungalows/A-Type Kothis situated at Jammu/Srinagar.When the PIL came up for hearing, Advocate S S Ahmed vehemently argued that it was on June, 19, 2018 when the last coalition Government came to an end and J&K came under Presidential Rule and with the fall of Government the erstwhile Ministers/Legislators who were occupying Ministerial Bungalows/ A-Type Kothis both at Jammu as well as Srinagar were required to vacate the aforesaid accommodation allotted to them by the Estates Department.Advocate S S Ahmed further submitted that the Government of J&K has selectively targeted ex-Ministers/ex-MLAs as those belonging to the Ruling party in the Central Government have not been touched till date and they are enjoying both official accommodation as well as security/official vehicles. Advocate Ahmed further submitted that most of the ex-Ministers/ex-MLAs have their private houses in Jammu and Srinagar but are not interested to vacate Ministerial Bungalows/A-Type Kothis.Advocate Ahmed further submitted that the officers of the Estates Department are not performing their statutory duties for obvious reasons and in view of inaction on their part the indulgence of the Court is warranted.After considering submissions of Advocate S.S. Ahmed appearing for the PIL and Senior AAG Seema Shekhar appearing for Government of J&K, the Division Bench reluctantly allowed four weeks time for filing status report as per the directions issued on last date of hearing and further observed that status report be positively filed before the next date and directed Registry to re-notify the instant PIL on December, 1, 2020.
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