Jammu: The J&K High Court has quashed allotment of nine quarters by Jammu Municipal Corporation spanning from the year 1993 till 2015 and simultaneously at posh Ghandi Nagar area in the winter capital of J&K.
A division bench of Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal quashed the allotments, made mostly in favour of the Corporation’s officials, observing that allotments made are illegal and contrary to principle of equality.
“The allotments as well as consequential rent deeds/ rent agreements made in favour of the respondent Nos. 5 to 13 are quashed,” the court said and directed the allottees to vacate the premises in their respective occupation within a period of six months.
So far as other Municipal shops, flats and garages are concerned, the court directed the authorities to examine the individual case and proceed in accordance with the law laid down by the Supreme Court in numerous decisions and take appropriate actions within a period of six months, extendable by another period of six months only.
“It is evident from the record produced by the respondents (officials) that allotments were made to its officers, other Government servants and the private persons just on their asking and there was no policy for the allotment of the flats/quarters,” the court said as per GNS, adding, “No advertisement was ever issued for the purpose of inviting applications for allotment of flats/quarters so as to enable other eligible persons to participate in the allotment process.”
Rather no procedure was followed in allotment of Municipal Assets, the court observed. “The assets being the public property could not have been allotted in a manner as has been done by the respondent No. 3 in an arbitrary and opaque manner.”
Four allottees were the officers/officials of the Municipal Corporation, the court said. One of them was initially allotted quarter in 1993 by Secretary, of then Jammu Municipality and strangely enough in 2012, when he was at the verge of his retirement, the rent deed for 40 years was executed, not only in his favour but also in favour of his Nephew, the court said in an order in a PIL by one Irtiza Mushtaq through advocate S. S. Ahmed.
Likewise, the court said, the flat/quarter was allotted to one when he was at the fag end of his service and for that purpose cattle pound was converted into a residential accommodation.
Similarly, quarter was also allotted to one in December 1983 and obtained allotment for himself from Secretary of Jammu Municipality in October 1983. “Thus, it is evident whosoever was at the helm of affairs of the Jammu Municipality, later on Jammu Municipality Corporation, the officers/officials at their sweet will distributed/allotted the Municipal assets to the persons either of their choice or chosen by their superiors.”
So far as the other persons, who though are not employees of the Corporation but employees of Administrative Department i.e. Housing and Urban Development Department or other department, too have been allotted the residential accommodation in a similar manner, the court said. “So far as the allotment made to NGO “PEACE‟ i.e. respondent No. 11 is concerned, it too has been allotted the residential accommodation, just on the asking of the respondent No. 11.”
Two private persons too are also beneficiaries of similar type of orders passed by then officers of the Municipal Corporation, the court said.