‘Forcible’ occupation of hotels: HC issues notice to Home Ministry, CS, DGP

Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has issued a notice to India’s Ministry of Home Affairs, Chief Secretary of the state besides Director General of Police among other respondents on a petition challenging paying of electricity and water charges from rentals of their hotels, occupied ‘forcibly’ by paramilitary forces in 1990.
The notice was issued by a bench of Justice Bansi Lal Bhat on petition filed by Mohammad Saleem Rather (proprietor Hotel New Shiraz, Srinagar) and Mohammad Maqbool Bawan (partner Hotel Hill Star Buchwara).
According to their counsel advocate Asif Maqbool, the hotels of the petitioners were occupied by forces ‘forcibly’ way back in 1990.
Ministry of Home Affairs, he said, issued a direction on (December 20, 2005), directing the state to bear the electricity and water charges regarding hotels occupied by the forces.
The grievance of the petitioners, he said, is that the respondents have issued a communication (BDR-04/2011/207-14) on February 2 last, asking the petitioners to pay electricity and water charges from their rentals.
Meanwhile, the bench has stayed the communication and has directed the respondents not to insist on production of ‘No Objection Certificates’ on account of electricity and water charges for the purpose of releasing the rentals in favour of the petitioners.
The other respondents in the petition include Inspector General of Police Kashmir Range and DIG CKR Srinagar.