Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the regional government to take all necessary steps for eviction of the former ministers, legislators, retired officers and politicians from government accommodations and ministerial bungalows, reported Bar and Bench.
“It is very unfortunate that some former ministers, legislators, retired officers and politicians have illegally and unauthorizedly managed to continue to stay in the residential accommodations provided to them by the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, though they are no longer entitled to such accommodation,” the Court said.
According to the Bar and Bench report, the bench noted that the unauthorised occupants must recognise that rights and obligations are connected to each other, because one person’s rights include the responsibilities of another person, while one person’s responsibilities involve the rights of another person.
The court added: “In this case, it must be taken into consideration by unauthorised occupants that their act of overstaying in premises explicitly infringes the right of another. This act of disobedience can be absolutely regulated by no law or direction, except for self-realization among the unauthorised occupants.”
Consequently, the Court directed the Chief Secretary and the Department of the Secretary of State to take all necessary measures to ensure that all unlawful occupants were evicted from government accommodation, including ministerial bungalows and special houses, reported Bar and Bench. In this regard, reliance was placed on the Supreme Court judgments in SD Bandi v. Divisional Traffic Officer, Karnakata (2013) and Lok Prahari v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. (2016).
“The Chief Secretary of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir and the Secretary to Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Estates Department, shall take all possible steps for ensuring eviction of the illegal/unauthorized occupants including former Ministers, Legislators, Retired officers, Politicians, Political persons from Government accommodation comprising Ministerial Bungalows and Special Houses in tune with the mandate of law provided by the Supreme Court in the two Judgments in case titled SD Bandi v. Divisional Traffic Officer, Karnakata (2013) and Lok Prahari v. State of Uttar Pradesh & Ors. (2016),” the Court ordered.
Further, as per the reports of Bar and Bench, the Court also ordered both departments to ensure the recovery of rental/arrears of rent as land revenue from the occupants of the accommodation for the time during for which they were in authorized/unauthorized occupation of the such accommodation.
In addition, natural resources, public property and public goods such as government bungalows and official residences have been observed to be the public property that belongs to the country’s citizens. “The ‘Doctrine of Equality’, which emerges from the concepts of justice and fairness must guide the State in the distribution or allocation of the same,” it said.