The Jammu & Kashmir High Court on Thursday directed the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir and the Secretary Estates Department to take all possible steps for ensuring eviction of the illegal/ unauthorized occupants (former Ministers/ Legislators/ Retired Officers/ Politicians/ Political persons) from Government accommodation, including Ministerial Bungalows/ Special Houses (A-type, B-type and C-type quarters).
The Court was hearing petition which revolves round the subject of unauthorized/ illegal occupation of Government accommodation by the erstwhile allottees in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
A divisional bench comprising Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul observed that, “it is unfortunate that some former Ministers/ Legislators/ Retired Officers/ Politicians/ Political persons, etc., have illegally/ 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. 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. 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 natural resources, public lands and the public goods, like government bungalows/ official residence are public properties that belong 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.
Further, the court directed the Chief Secretary and the Secretary Estates Department to ensure recovery of rent/arrears of rent from the occupants of the accommodation for the period for which they were in authorized/unauthorizedly occupying the said accommodation as land revenue.
While disposing the petition the Court stated:
“The directions passed by this Court from time to time in the matter of eviction of unauthorized/ illegal occupants from Government accommodation and recovery of rent thereof, earlier in point of time, shall be strictly implemented by the authorities concerned of the Government of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in the same spirit in which they were meant to be.”