Orders the Commissioner to file a report on the action taken in the matter
Srinagar: Observing that the Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) is partnering with some hoteliers who are operating a hotel in a residential area of Gogji Bagh without authorization, the High Court requested an affidavit from the commissioner of the Corporation directing it to file a report on the taken procedures. About that.
“We find it hard to say that the progress report filed in the name of the SMC on 08.16.2021 is not up to the task and it confirms the fact, as indicated in the decree of 05.10.2020, that the agents and the staff of the Srinagar Municipal Corporation are in cahoots with Respondents 5 and 6 (the hoteliers alleged to be offenders) ”, observed Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Judge M Akram Chowdhary.
Previously, the SMC’s attorney had requested a three-day deadline to file a better compliance report in accordance with the October 2020 order of the J&K High Court.
The compliance report must be supported by the affidavit of the SMC Commissioner. It will also indicate the follow-up given to complaints received by neighbors or residents of the area concerning unauthorized constructions raised by responding hoteliers.
The residents of Gogji Bagh through their councils had argued in court that the hoteliers were raising illegal constructions in the residential area.
They said that the clearance was initially taken for a guesthouse, but was later converted into a hotel, adding that this would certainly affect the privacy of residents in the area.
A notice was then issued for the demolition of the “illegal construction”. But the owners appealed to the Special Court. In December 2019, he ordered that the status quo be maintained.
Concealing the expectation of the aforementioned proceedings, the respondent hoteliers filed a complaint with the judge of the Srinagar District Court. The judge issued a provisional order allowing them to raise the construction with regard to the sanctioned plan.
Interestingly, the order was made there on the date the complaint itself was filed, January 20, 2020. Construction was in full swing, the petitioners said.
In the meantime, the Court has ruled on the appeal filed by the hoteliers (against the demolition) in July 2020. It has chosen to put the hoteliers’ lawyer in touch by audio call. Lawyers for the other parties have been kept out, affected residents told the court.
“SMC officials come to an agreement with the respondent hoteliers to allow them to violate the provisions of the law and raise illegal constructions,” the petitioners told the division court.
In its order, the High Court of October 2020 ordered that the respondent hoteliers be prevented from carrying out any further construction on the disputed premises.
He asked the SMC to delegate a team of officers in charge to take photographs and also videos of the current state of construction in the building.
The two judges of the bench of judges Rajesh Bindal and Sanjay Dhar had strongly censured Abdul Majid Bhat, president of the Tribunal, for his behavior “unjustified”.
“The way in which the chairman passes orders does not inspire confidence. Numerous orders issued by the officer were also contested before the Jammu bench of this court ”, underlined the judges.
“It has been allowed to worsen major violations by ignoring the provisions of the rules and regulations,” they said.
Even the principles of natural justice were not followed since neither the Corporation’s lawyer was heard, nor the plaintiffs who had filed a request to be implicated in the appeal, were not informed of the date of the hearing, the court noted.
He ordered the Tribunal to send electronic copies of all orders he had made to the Vigilance Registrar of the High Court of J&K, effective the date A Majid Bhat became its President.
In the first instance, orders made under the supervision of the Jammu and Kashmir Construction Operations Act 1988 must be sent within one month, he ordered.
The court also ordered to be informed of the Khilafwarzi officers who remained stationed in the area during the construction period.
Rashid Paul is associate editor at Kashmir Images.
He can be contacted at [email protected]