BJP’s Ajat Shatru Singh to tender ‘unqualified apology’ for illegal constructions in Gupkar
SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court on Thursday appointed a retired judge to enquire into the complaint by a DySP working with Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) that PDP minister Imran Raza Ansari “abused and threatened” him for taking action against illegal constructions in a prohibited area around the Dal Lake.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey appointed Syed Javed Ahmad, retired Principal District and Sessions Judge, as the enquiry officer, after Ansari as well as the DySP, Suhail Hussain Reshi, stuck to their claims.
While the cop reiterated that Ansari “abused and threatened” him for taking action against those who had raised illegal constructions at Lashkari Mohalla near Habak on Dal peripheries, Ansari, the minister for Information Technology, Technical Education and Youth Services & Sports, rejected his claims as baseless.
“Some officers who have shown sensitivity to this important issue (preservation and protection of Dal Lake) have to be given proper protection to enable them to discharge their duties without any fear and favour. The DySP Suhail Hussain Reshi has raised serious issue, same being in the larger public interest, has to be brought to the logical conclusion. Responsibility has to be fixed,” the court said.
“In order to reach to proper conclusion and to recommend any action, if required to be taken, it is deemed appropriate to get the complaint of Reshi filed against Ansari enquired into by the retired District Judge,” the court said and designated Syed Javed Ahmad as the enquiry officer. His appointment was ordered after he gave consent through the Registrar Judicial.
“The officer will enquire into the complaint and afford an opportunity of hearing to the complainant (Reshi) and lmran Raza Ansari. He can call for the relevant material and summon any person who is concerned with the subject matter and record their statements,” the court said and directed all the concerned authorities to render all the assistance to Syed Javed Ahmad.
It also ordered that he will be entitled to fee at the same rate which are being paid to senior Principal District Judge, less by pension amount and provided vehicle, room in the secretariat or office of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir with one stenographer and one clerk and a peon. The court directed state’s chief secretary to issue necessary orders for providing the vehicle and the logistics to him within one week.
“The enquiry officer shall start enquiry proceedings within one week from the date copy of this order is received by him,” the court said and directed the enquiry officer to file his report within five weeks.
Meanwhile, Advocate BM Sadiq, appearing for BJP legislator Ajat Shatru Singh, submitted that his client will tender an unqualified apology for illegal construction in Gupkar area here. Following directions by the court, the divisional administration has already sealed the concreting laid for foundation for the illegal structure being built by Ajatshatru Singh, the grandson of J&K’s last king, Hari Singh.
Sadiq submitted that the response on behalf of Ajat Shatru, Member of Legislative Council, has been drafted by him and has been sent for signatures of his client.
“My client will file undertaking that he will not raise any construction in violation of the court orders and statue occupying the field,” Sadiq submitted following which the court directed him to file the undertaking within two weeks time.
In its observations, the court also pulled up the authorities for not taking action against the MLC if has violated the orders.
“The reason being he is grandson of Maharaja? Are laws made for poor people only,” the court observed.
In another direction the court directed that wherever, constructions are being raised in violation of Court orders and statutory provisions, the construction material shall be seized by the LAWDA authorities and kept in their custody till further orders from it. This is besides taking action in accordance with law and as is already directed by the Court, the division bench said
“Report in this behalf shall be filed by the LAWDA before the next date (of hearing) giving details about the action taken in this behalf,” the court said.
Meanwhile, court-appointed vigilance commissioners—Mohammad Shafi Khan (retired session judge) and Abdul Hamid Bhat (former SSP) filed latest reports about the illegal constructions in and around the Dal.
“The (court) registry shall send the reports to the monitoring Committee for preservation of Dal Lake for taking action in the light of the reports,” the court said and directed the Committee, headed by the state’s chief secretary, to file latest report about the steps taken by them before the next date of hearing in the PIL, filed in 2002 by one Syed Tahir Iqbal, in the week commencing from October 17.