Rejection of Govt. Accommodation to specially abled Lawyer

HC issues fresh notices to PS to CM, Secy. GAD, Director Estates, J&K

02/01/2018

JAMMU, Jan 1: In a writ petition filed by a Specially Abled Lawyer Suraj Singh (100% visually disabled) challenging Govt. Order No.128-EST of 2017 dated October, 7, 2017 whereby the plea of the petitioner for Govt. Accommodation has been rejected by the Minister for Estates J&K Government, Justice Alok Aradhe of J&K High Court (Jammu Wing) has issued notices to the Principal Secretary to the Hon'ble Chief Minister J&K (Minister for Estates J&K), Commissioner/ Secretary to Govt. of J&K General Administration Depart ment and Director Estates J&K returnable within four weeks requiring them to file their response to the fresh writ petition.
When this petition came up for hearing Advocates S.C. Gupta and Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed appearing for the petitioner drew the attention of the Court to the Govt. Order No.128-EST of 2017 dated October, 7, 2017 whereby Minister for Estates J&K Government rejected the claim of the petitioner Suraj Singh for Govt. Accommodation on the ground that there is no provision in the Rules to make any allotment under Regulation 4(e) as amended vide Government Order No.1291-GAD of 2004 dated 22-09-2004 for allotment of residential accommodation at Jammu in favour of Advocate Suraj Singh.
Advocate S.C. Gupta submitted that a very harsh/strict view has been taken by the Minister for Estates while rejecting the case of a specially abled lawyer who belongs to a remote hilly Village in Tehsil Lohai Malhar (Kathua) with nearest road link about eight kilometers and putting up in a rented accommodation, facing difficulties in obtaining suitable space from non-disabled home-owners based on their prejudices towards disabled. Advocate S.C. Gupta further submitted that the petitioner does not own land or house in District Jammu and Advocate Suraj Singh was not asking for any pity or sympathy but expecting making of necessary provision of housing by the State by adopting non-discriminatory approach towards the petitioner.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed appearing for the petitioner Suraj Singh further submitted that it was in the year 2011 when the Specially Abled Lawyer approached the Minister for Estates for Govt. Accommodation and thereafter the petitioner filed OWP No.1401/2012 which was disposed of by the writ court on November, 27, 2012 directing the Estates Department to accord consideration to the prayer of the petitioner for Govt. Accommodation.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that the case of the petitioner was initially rejected vide Govt. Order No.216-EST of 2013 dated October, 21, 2013 and the said order was questioned in OWP No.857 of 2016 and the same was quashed vide Judgment dated October, 5, 2016 passed by Justice B.S. Walia (since transferred to Punjab and Haryana High Court).
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that the Estates Department filed appeal bearing No.15 of 2017 which was decided on March, 6, 2017 and the writ court Judgment was upheld. Advocate Ahmed further submitted that the review petition against the Judgment dated March, 6, 2017 was disposed of vide order dated July, 24, 2017 by the Division Bench directing re-consideration keeping in view the observations of the Court and Regulations governing allotment.
Advocate Ahmed further submitted that the contempt proceedings were dropped by order dated December, 12, 2017 after taking into account the statement of facts accompanied by Govt. Order No.128-EST of 2017 dated October, 7, 2017 which rejected Govt. accommodation on the ground that Regulations and Act do not provide for allotment to the Disabled.
After considering the submissions of Advocates S.C. Gupta and S.S. Ahmed, Justice Alok Aradhe of J&K High Court (Jammu Wing) issued notices to the Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister J&K, Commissioner/Secretary to Govt. of J&K, General Administration Department and Director Estates, J&K returnable within four weeks requiring them to file their response to the writ petition seeking quashment of Govt. Order No.128-EST of 2017 dated October, 7, 2017 whereby the plea of the petitioner for Govt. Accommodation has been rejected by the Minister for Estates J&K Government.JNF

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