Delhi High Court today protected the estranged wife of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and their children from being evicted from their government residence here till July 28.
Justice Indermeet Kaur asked the Centre not to take any coercive steps against Payal Abdullah and her two sons till next date pursuant to the eviction order of June 30.
The court asked the Ministries of Urban Development and Home Affairs to reply to the petitioners plea that if they are found to be entitled to an alternate government accommodation then the Centre be directed not to evict them till a suitable residence is alloted to them and it is cleared and equipped by the security personnel.
The Estate officer, Resident Commission, Government of Jammu and Kashmir was asked by the court to respond to the plea that petitioners should not be evicted or a suitable alternate accommodation be allotted to them where they can be effectively protected.
In their plea, the wife and sons of Omar Abdullah, have claimed the Centre, through a letter dated September 9, 2015, allotted the 7 Akbar Road bungalow to the state of Jammu and Kashmir as the Chief Minister’s residence with retrospective effect from August 11, 2009, without following the due process of law, which was thus illegal.
They have contended that even now the website of the Department of Hospitality and Protocol of Government of Jammu and Kashmir shows that the residence of Chief Minister of the state was at 5, Prithviraj Road.
Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Sanjay Jain, during the hearing, told the court that the petitioners were not entitled to stay on at the premises as Omar Abdullah was no longer the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir.
Payal Abdullah, in her plea filed through advocate Amit Khemka, has claimed that she moved the high court as Omar Abdullah in his response to the estate officer’s show cause notice had said he was no longer in occupation of the said premises and hence the authority was free to take whatever steps necessary to take over the premises.
The petitioners, including the two children, have sought parity with Priyanka Gandhi, Subramanian Swamy and several others who have been granted government accommodation on security grounds.
However, ASG Jain told the court that the petitioner’s case was different from that of Priyanka Gandhi as she was a special protectee of SPG.
Khemka, appearing for the petitioners, told the court that today was the last date for filing their appeal challenging the eviction order and they would be filing it today itself.
The court, thereafter, directed the appellate body, the District Judge of Patiala House Courts, to dispose of the appeal expeditiously.
The petitioners have contended that the eviction order was passed without allowing them to lead evidence and without granting any personal hearing to them.
As per the eviction order, the petitioners were given 15 days to vacate the premises.
The petitioners have sought that they be either allowed to continue at Bungalow No. 7, Akbar Road, or allotted another suitable government accommodation where the security personnel, numbering 94, can effectively protect them.
Payal Abdullah, in the plea, has said she has a flat in the city but it would be “totally insufficient for making elaborate security arrangements for their protection” as there are other flats in the same building.