Jammu Tawi, December 29
In a much publicized Public Interest Litigation regarding illegal construction on the bank of river, A Division Bench of State High Court Comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Tashi Rabstan after hearing battery of lawyers appearing from both the sides observed that it would be appropriate to constitute a Monitoring Committee of two independent members, one retired District Judge and another a retired Police Officer at the rank of minimum Senior Superintendent of Police, to keep vigil and regularly report to this Court as to the activities vis-à-vis the subject matter of instant PILs and direction(s) issued from time to time and implementation thereof in letter and spirit on the ground and appointed Ashok Koul presently Registrar General of J&K High Court who is retering on December 31, 2016 and Parvinder Singh DIG (rtd).
While appointing monitoring committee, Division Bench observed that number of directions passed on previous dates of hearing and respondent State asked implementation thereof in letter and spirit, followed by submission of compliance, status and action taken reports qua such directions, two reports have been filed, one report is of Senior Superintendent of Police, Jammu. As is coming forth from the report, a good number of vehicles have been seized, besides concomitant preparations and arrangements related to implementation of directions of this Court have been taken. It would not be gainsaying that appreciable work has been done by the police and same valour and vigour will continue. The second report is of Commissioner Secretary to Government, Tourism Department and Director, Tourism Department, Jammu. The information, as was directed to be submitted by this Court, has been furnished therein. 277 hotels/lodges in total are running in Jammu City. Of 277 hotels, 07 have been shown of A-Category, 42 of B-Category, and 228 of C-Category. Only 13 hotels are stated to have STP installed.
Division Bench further observed that JMC and JDA has not filed status report and was expected of JMC and JDA to come up with compliance/action taken report(s) as has been done by the Police. However, non-submission of report(s) by JMC and JDA left us with no option but to say that prevention of construction activity on either side of the River Tawi and prohibited areas, cannot be left exclusively to the officers and officials of JMC and JDA. Despite this Court direction, it appears that necessary action has not been taken, which concerned authorities/organisation(s), within their domain, could have undertaken otherwise. However, due to lack of commitment on the part of concerned officers/officials, such matters are left to be brought to the Court by general public. It is a fact of common knowledge that such illegal activates evoke little or no response from the officials. A person espousing public cause apprehends a retaliatory action from the violators.
Division Bench further observed that For smooth functioning and discharge of duties, without any difficulty or impediment by the Committee Members the Vice Chairman, Jammu Development Authority, Jammu shall provide all facilities to the Committee, including office, stenographer and orderly as well and also the vehicles commensurate to their status within one week from today. JNF
Jammu Tawi, December 29