Center “High Court Reminds UT Administration: Security and Government Accommodation Are Separate Issues”

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The Jammu and Kashmir High Court recently reviewed a petition involving 53 former ministers, legislators, and politicians who are still occupying government accommodations despite no longer holding official positions. The court reminded the UT administration that security and government accommodation are separate issues and should not be mixed together.

The court’s observations were made in response to the UT administration’s explanation, which was submitted in a sealed cover. The 53 individuals come from various political parties, including the DPAP chief Ghulam Nabi Azad, former PDP MP Muzaffar Hussain Beig, and former MLA Ravinder Raina.

In a three-page order dated May 31 and published on June 12, the division bench of Chief Justice N Kotiswar Singh and Justice Puneet Gupta noted that the report submitted by the administration did not address the main issue raised in court. The court questioned whether individuals entitled to security cover should also be provided with government accommodation, emphasizing that these are two distinct matters.

The court was reviewing a petition filed by retired professor S K Bhalla, represented by advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed. The petition questioned why the 53 individuals were still residing in government accommodations despite clear court orders outlining the criteria for receiving protection and official housing.

Referring to a previous case involving former minister Choudhary Lal Singh, the court highlighted that security cover does not automatically entitle an individual to government accommodation. The bench reiterated the administration’s position in Singh’s case, stating that accommodation for former officials should not be the same as when they were in office.

The court directed the administration to provide details on the type of accommodation provided to these individuals and the reasons behind it by the next hearing on July 19.

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