Srinagar: The J&K High Court Thursday dismissed a petition filed by owner of Hotel Nedous, Gulmarg seeking renewal of lease on “101.4 kanals of land” on the ground that he had been singled out for eviction while similarly situated persons have not been evicted.
Dismissing the petition, the court held that valuable public property cannot be taken only on the premise that someone has grabbed it for decades.
Counsel Anil Bhan appearing for the petitioner Umar Khaleel Nedous admitted before court that the lease to land has expired but stated that after the application for renewal before concerned authorities the petitioner didn’t receive the rejection order.
“If it is so, why only the petitioner has been singled out,” he questioned.
Hearing the case, the division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe remarked that public property is valuable asset and directed state authorities to file details of all those cases where lease has expired. The court said details of all such cases be filed before the bench as soon as it is compiled.
Meanwhile Additional Advocate General (AAG) B A Dar informed court that Hotel Nedous was leased only two kanals and three marlas of land in 1965 but over the years they encroached more than 98 kanals of land which has been retrieved and report has been already submitted before this court.
He further submitted that the lease was only for 20 years which expired in 1985 but still the petitioner had encroached the state land in violation of the law.
After hearing the state counsel, division bench while referring to government communication (order dated 17 December 1990) said that the order clearly informs that lease to Hotel Nedous has expired and is conflicting with Master Plan and has to be dismantled.
“That so far as the writ petition is concerned on hand such a prayer cannot be challenged in court and is outrightly dismissed in terms of illegality and further directed authorities to strictly adhere to the procedures of land lease so that no land is illegally occupied,” the court said.
The bench observed that there are persons who have no allotment in their favour and they are in possession of hundreds of kanals of land without any authority of law. The other category of persons is those who were allotted a small portion of land but they have encroached upon hundreds of kanals of land. This has to be addressed, the bench remarked..