HC seeks details in respect of Gole Market, Apsara Road areas

Use of residential buildings for commercial purposes

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, June 4: High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh has sought details of the residential buildings and premises, which are being used for commercial purpose without seeking permission from Jammu Municipal Corporation in Gole Market and Apsara Road Gandhi Nagar Jammu.
The direction in this regard has been passed in a petition filed by Rakesh Aggarwal, who through Advocate Assem Kumar Sawhney, argued that the impugned notice of sealing of the premises/building has been issued against the petitioner at Plot No. 283-A, Gole Market, Apsara Road, Jammu for converting the residential building into commercial purpose allegedly without permission from the Jammu Municipal Corporation.
The order impugned reveals that the Tribunal vide judgment dated 13.03.2022 allowed the appeal filed by the petitioner on the ground that the notice issued under Section 7(1) was served on the wrong address—283-A instead of 283-B Gandhi Nagar, Jammu and, accordingly, order issued under Section 7(3) of the COBO Act was set aside.
The mistake which was set aside by the Tribunal has again been repeated by the respondents through the medium of the instant notice, by virtue of which the building of the petitioner has been sealed by showing the address as 283-A when in fact the correct address is at 283-B.
The specific case of the petitioner is that the official website of the Jammu Smart City Project headed by the Divisional Commissioner, Jammu and whose CEO is JMC Commissioner, has in its official website uploaded the Apsara Road Project as a major project of Jammu with cost value, face lift and market area, with gate etc.
“The market was developed by the respondent by investing Rs 49.13 crore. So much, so that the Housing Board is contemplating to built twin towers in Apsara road with market, shops, office area, parking spaces etc. For all practical purposes, Apsara Road is a commercial market and the Smart City Project itself ratifies and endorses the fact”, the counsel for the petitioner submitted.
It was further submitted that since the premises of the petitioner remained sealed for about two years, therefore, it caused immense losses to the petitioner while the rest of the shops in the entire vicinity and neighbourhood of the petitioner are functioning without any hassles or impediments. Therefore, the respondents have adopted a discriminatory, arbitrary and unequal treatment.
The counsel for the petitioner said, “the respondents have not issued any show cause notice or provided any opportunity to the petitioner to put forth his case and instead, directly opted to seal the premises of the petitioner in a hasty manner, that too, the notice has been sent on a different property and sealing of another property has taken place”.
After hearing counsel for the petitioner, Justice Wasim Sadiq Nargal issued notice in the main petition as also in CM. “Prima facie case for indulgence has been made out. Meanwhile, subject to objections from the other side and till next date of hearing, the order impugned dated 11.12.2023 vide No.JMC/CEO/1042-445 shall remain stayed”, Justice Nargal ordered.
High Court has also directed the respondents to produce the original record, which led to the passing of the order impugned. Moreover, the respondents have been further directed to place on record, at the first instance, the details of the residential buildings/premises/establishments, which are being used for commercial purpose without seeking permission from Jammu Municipal Corporation, pertaining to Gole Market, Gandhi Nagar Apsara Road, Jammu.
“They shall also specify the details with respect to the action taken against violators for converting the residential building into the commercial or carrying on commercial activity in violation of the Master Plan or rules in vogue”, High Court said, adding “respondents are further directed to place on record the details and action taken by way of filing a separate affidavit of all such violators of the area, who have changed the land use from residential to commercial in violation of existing rules/bye-laws and the Master Plan within two weeks positively”.