Negligent officials won’t go scot free: HC

Fayaz Bukhari

Srinagar, Dec 17: Jammu and Kashmir High Court today observed that the officials whose negligence led to devastation by floods in September this year in the State can’t be left to go scot free.
While making its observation to the PIL seeking punishment of the officials for committing criminal negligence in the recent floods, the division bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court comprising Justice MH Attar and Justice B L Bhat observed: “They will not be left to go scot free.”
The court made these observations after counsel, appearing for the PIL, submitted that authorities were casual and callous before floods, during floods and also after floods as they do not bother even to respond to the instant PIL.
The Advocate General of the State, M I Qadri, submitted before the court that Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah has already requested the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, for investigation of the negligence by the officials before, during and after the floods. “The same is awaited”, he told the Court.
The High Court also directed the personal appearance of Deputy Commissioners of three South Kashmir districts for failing to inform the court about the shelter sheds provided to flood victims who have been rendered homeless.
Expressing its serious concern over the conduct of Chief Engineer R&B (PWD) and Deputy Commissioners of Anantnag, Pulwama and Shopian for flouting the Court orders, the High Court directed them to remain present before the court tomorrow.
These officials were directed to remain present before the Court and file affidavits indicating therein as to how many flood victims have been provided shelter sheds so that they could save themselves and their family members from the vagaries of the winter.
“Neither the officials were present, nor was any information in the shape of affidavits given by three DCs, which shows callousness and casualness by these authorities towards the orders of the court as also to their duties towards rehabilitation of flood victims”, the court observed.
Court observed that the flood victims have to be provided shelter immediately. “We accordingly direct listing of this case along with connected matters on December 18”, directed the bench.
“The Chief Engineer R&B, Kashmir in terms of the court order, was to file his own affidavit. Further he should have sought permission from the court before leaving for Jammu” adding: “Today Learned AG produced affidavit purportedly filed on behalf of the CE. Perusal of the affidavit would show that it has been filed by EE(R&B)”, said the bench.
The Advocate General, M I Qadri, informed the court that that Chief Engineer has gone to Jammu for official work. Court sought explanation from CE as to what reasons compelling him for going to Jammu one day before the case was listed and directed him to file affidavit detailing out the reasons therein.


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