Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 27
Stating that public assets and money are being misused, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has asserted that properties are being illegally occupied by political persons after demitting office.
Glaring details placed before the bench
- 72 govt properties occupied by political workers, advocates and others
- Rs56.89 lakh unpaid power, water charges by 72 occupants
- Rs55.7 lakh rent due from these occupants
Why house allotted to Shah’s family?
Where was the need to allot a house to the family of the late GM Shah, ex-Chief Minister, in Jammu, when the family owns accommodation in Srinagar and is residing there? – J&K High Court Bench
No less than 72 government properties in Jammu and Srinagar were being occupied by political workers, advocates and other persons without entitlement and more than Rs 1,12,60,000 was due on account of rent, water and electricity charges.
The “glaring details” placed before the Bench of Chief Justice (Acting) Rajesh Bindal and Justice Sanjay Dhar made it evident that a ministerial bungalow had been provided to the family of the late GM Shah, the J&K Chief Minister from 1984 to 86. His family had also been provided security at their Srinagar house.
“Where was the need to allot a house to the family of the late GM Shah, ex-Chief Minister, in Jammu, when the family owns accommodation in Srinagar and is residing there?” the Bench said.
The Bench added that monthly expenses totalling Rs 32,44,713 were being incurred in J&K to provide security to former minsters, MLAs and MLCs in just nine cases. It also noted that Rs 56,89,524 was due on account of electricity and water charges from 72 persons, who were allotted government accommodation which they were not entitled to. The total rent due from these occupants was Rs 55,70,535.
The monthly expenses incurred on the staff provided to these 72 occupants were Rs 7,93,049. Besides this, Rs 78,71,000 was spent by the government on repair and maintenance of their residences.
The Bench also quoted the example of former minister Abdul Rahim Rather. A private house was stated to have been hired at a monthly rent of Rs 43,000. It was de-hired vide order dated March 23, 2018. But he was still in its possession and Rs 15,48,000 was due from him.
Taking up a petition filed in public interest by Prof SK Bhalla, the Bench called for details of government accommodation in possession of persons other than government employees or the ones entitled to it at places other than J&K. The Bench also asked for details of steps taken to evict them, besides recovering arrears of rent, electricity and water dues.
The Bench also asked for rules or regulations under which staff had been provided to the 72 persons at the state expense without entitlement. The departments concerned were directed to upload the details of all such accommodations and occupants on the official website.