HC issues notices to Div Com, DC, SSP as Army files contempt petition

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, May 16:  In the much publicized case of  unlawful construction on the land owned by Speaker, Legislative Assembly Dr Nirmal Singh’s wife near Army Ammunition Depot at Nagrota, the J&K High Court  today issued notices to Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Deputy Commissioner Jammu and SSP Jammu to ensure strict implementation of Government ban on construction activity near the ammunition storage as the Defence authorities sought initiation of contempt proceeding in the wake of  non-cooperation from Police as well  Civil administration to stop ongoing work despite a court order in this regard.
Justice Janak Raj Kotwal,  after hearing Advocate  Ajay Sharma, Special Counsel appointed by Army, issued notice to  Hemant Sharma, Divisional Commissioner Jammu;  Kumar Rajeev Ranjan,  DC Jammu and  Vivek Gupta,   SSP Jammu for filling compliance report in regard to High Court  interim order dated  May 7, 2018 directing  that till next date of hearing, the State authorities shall ensure strict implementation of the  notification No 2772/DCJ/LHS/GN-Ban/Army/ 1/2015-968/13 dated August 7, 2015, issued by DC Jammu ordering ban on construction near Ammunition Depot.
In the  contempt petition,  filed by OIC Land Cell Station Headquarters Nagrota,  the Army authorities had sought initiation of contempt proceedings against Shahid Anayat Ullah,  Commissioner Revenue;   Divisional Commissioner Jammu,   DC Jammu,  SSP Jammu;  SHO Nagrota and Mamta Singh, wife of  former  DyCM and present Speaker Dr Nirmal Singh  for willfully  violating the court order dated  May 7, 2017.
Earlier, in response to a petition by the Army,  the  High Court  in its interim order on May 7, 2018,   had  directed the respondents;   Secretary Revenue, Div Com Jammu, DC Jammu and SHO Nagrota that till next date of hearing on  May 21, 2018,  the State authorities shall ensure that  notification No 2772/DCJ/LHS/GN-Ban/Army /1/2015-968/13 dated August 7, 2015,   is strictly implemented in accordance with law/rules and no unlawful activity in the area is permitted.
However, despite the court order, the construction activity on the said piece of land continued following which the Army authorities on May 11 wrote to SHO Nagrota requesting him to look into the matter immediately and ensure implementation of HC direction to stop further construction on the site.
Requesting the SHO to stop the construction activity and lodge an FIR for disobedience of order issued by the J&K High Court Jammu, Commander of 4 ASD (Ammunition Sub Depot), Major Kumar Sugardh, in his communication, had already warned to file contempt of court against the Police officials by name if the constrained is shown by the Police authority.
Finally, in the wake of non-cooperation from Police and Civil administration under BJP rule, the Army authorities today filed contempt of court petition following which the notices were issued.
The construction activity, being taken place approximately 530 meters (580 yards) from the outer wall of 4 Ammunition Sub Depot at village Ban, was first noticed by the Army authorities on October 27, 2017 and on further inquiry, it was established that the building under construction belongs to Mamta Singh, wife of then Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh, who is now Speaker of the J&K Legislative Assembly.
Taking cognizance of the violation of the Works of Defence Act (WoDA) 1903 as also Government of India, Ministry of Defence notification vide SRO 203, dated September 26, 2002 and notification number 2772/DCJ/LHS/GN-Ban/ Army/01/2015-968/13, issued by DC Jammu on August 7, 2015, the GOC 16 Corps, Lt Gen  Saranjeet Singh wrote a letter to Dr Nirmal Singh and also forwarded a copy of that  communiqué  to the GOC-in-C, Northern Command, Lt Gen Anbu, apprising them about the offence.
In this letter, number PC-3451/4ASD/WoDA/Q3H, dated 19-03-2018, the GOC made it clear that the ongoing construction has implications on the security of a major ammunition storage facility as well as safety of all personnel living in close vicinity of the subject Ammunition Depot.
Before writing to GOC and Dr Nirmal Singh, the Army authorities had also sought intervention of the Chief Secretary, J&K, vide letter 3451/4 ASD/WoDA/Q3H (i), dated March 7, 2018 to him, apprising about the illegal construction on said piece of land and not registering of FIR in this regard by the Police authorities besides non-cooperation by the Civil administration for carrying out demarcation.
Alleged connivance of the concerned Police and Civil authorities in allowing illegal construction on the land owned by Dr Nirmal Singh’s  wife can be further gauged from the fact that transfer order of then Tehsildar Nagrota, who was shifted  to other place last month, had been  modified within 10 days  allowing him to continue at the present place of posting.