DB grants 10 days time for reply by GAD, H&UDD, SVO, others

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, May 15: In the much publicized Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by a practicing lawyer Irtiza Mushtaq seeking quashment of orders whereby Jammu Municipal Corporation has allotted 10 Municipal Flats at Gandhi Nagar on pick and choose basis, Division Bench of the State High Court comprising Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Sanjay Gupta today granted 10 days further time for filing of response by the Commissioner Secretaries of General Administration, Housing and Urban Development Departments, Director Vigilance State Vigilance Organization, former Commissioner Secretary Housing and Urban Development Department and his PSO and driver.
When the PIL came up for hearing, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed appearing for the petitioner submitted that on April 17, 2018 Division Bench headed by then Acting Chief Justice Ramalingam Sudhakar had granted three weeks further time for filing of response by GAD, H&UDD, former IAS Officer and others but replies have not been filed.
He vehemently argued that before filing the instant PIL, the petitioner had served a detailed legal notice calling upon the then Deputy Chief Minister (Minister Incharge Housing and Urban Development Department), Secretaries of GAD, H&UDD and Commissioner JMC to initiate a high level probe into the illegal allotments of Municipal Flats/Quarters with a further request to rescind such arbitrary allotments and also to initiate appropriate action against the delinquent officers/officials of JMC.
“The respondents are under an obligation to disclose before the Division Bench the action initiated upon receipt of the legal notice dated October 4, 2017. Both GAD and H&UDD are silent on the subject and are inclined to shield the tainted officers/officials of JMC who resorted to illegal allotments by abusing their official position thereby causing immense loss to the State exchequer”, he further submitted.
At this stage, Senior AAG S S Nanda appearing for GAD and H&UDD requested the Division Bench for extending further two weeks time enabling him to file the response of the departments. However, the Division Bench allowed 10 days time to Senior AAG to do the needful.
A battery of lawyers including Senior Advocate U K Jalali, Advocates S K Anand, Adarsh Sharma, Abhinav Sharma, Ajay Bakshi and Ratish Mahajan appeared on behalf of the beneficiaries (private respondents) and on their prayer the Division Bench granted further 10 days time to file response to the PIL.
However, former Joint Commissioner (Adm) JMC R S Jamwal and Ex-PA to Commissioner JMC Madan Mohan Khajooria filed their response to the PIL through Advocates Jugal Kishore Gupta and Ratish Mahajan. Advocates Ajay Bakshi and Manjeet Partap Singh also filed their reply on behalf of Narinder Sharma President PEACE (NGO).
The Advocates appearing for the beneficiaries submitted that in the instant PIL the petitioner has selectively questioned the allotment of 10 Municipal Flats at Gandhi Nagar whereas there are around 300 such allottees in Jammu City and there is no challenge to such allotments. At this stage Advocate S S Ahmed invited the attention of the Division Bench towards PIL wherein it is pointed out that the 10 illegal allotments of flats at Gandhi Nagar is just a tip of the ice berg.
“The entire issue is before the Division Bench and I have no objection in case all such allotments are re-opened and put to scrutiny through State Vigilance Organization or by a committee constituted by the Division Bench”, Advocate Ahmed said.
After considering the submissions of both the sides, the Division Bench extended 10 days further time for filing response to the PIL by the Commissioner Secretaries of General Administration Department, Housing and Urban Development Department, Director Vigilance, former Commissioner Secretary Housing and Urban Development Department, Surinder Kumar, PSO to former Commissioner Secretary, Balbir Singh (Driver SUDA) and Kharati Lal, son of Mani Ram.

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