Jammu and Kashmir Ex-MLAs Eviction: Two Bungalows Vacated, AG Informs Court

The AG told Jammu and Kashmir high court that six other occupants were in the process of vacating the government accommodation

In the much-publicised public interest litigation seeking eviction of overstaying former ministers and ex-legislators from government bungalows, advocate general DC Raina on Thursday told the court that consequent upon action by the government of Jammu and Kashmir, two premises have already been vacated and six other occupants were in the process of vacating the government accommodation.

He informed a division bench comprising the chief justice N. Kotiswar Singh and justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi that Wazira Begum and Sonaullah Lone, two political leaders, vacated their accommodation.

Raina further submitted that in respect of other premises, the matter is under active consideration of the government and sought two months’ time to do the needful in the matter.

On the other hand, advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed submitted that there was no proper compliance of the directions passed by the division bench on April 3.

The bench had issued categoric directions to director, estates, Jammu and director, estates, Kashmir to pass individual orders in respect of all 43 occupants and also to explain why these occupants were not charged rentals at commercial rates since they are not holding any office as of now.

Advocate Ahmed vociferously argued that there cannot be two laws for a similar situation and recalled how the Jammu and Kashmir government evicted more than 200 politicians including two former chief ministers — Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti besides several former ministers from the government bungalows.

“An undue favour is being extended to the remaining 41 politicians who are having access to the corridors of power,” he said.

He further submitted that referring 35 cases of other overstaying politicians to the committee of the government was a ploy to shield the illegal continuation of influential politicians, who are close to the seat of power.

Ahmed further submitted that he was entitled to see the entire records and all the 43 individual orders passed by the estates department so that he can assist the division bench for passing the appropriate directions in this matter of wide public importance.

Accordingly, the bench in the open court remarked that the entire records will be perused in order to see the compliance of court directions dated April 3, 2024.

The Division Bench directed the registry to re-notify the instant PIL on August 7.

The bench further directed the counsel for estates department to report instructions moved by former finance minister Abdul Raheem Rather who is seeking clarification that he has already vacated the government accommodation and his name should be removed from the list of occupants.

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