Srinagar, Sept 21: Miffed over the defiance of its orders, the High Court of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh issued bailable warrants against Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, and Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar after failing to file affidavits and appear before it in connection with the release of rental compensation in favour of hotel owner which was hired for DDC and Panchayat elections.
Issuing the bailable warrants for a sum of Rs.20,000, Justice Sanjeev Kumar directed the IGP, Kashmir, Srinagar to execute each bailable warrant and secure the appearance of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Pandurang K. Pole and Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Mohammad Aijaz Asad, in court on the next date of hearing on October, 12, this year.
On August, 25, this year, the court had granted two weeks’ "last and final opportunity" to the officers to file two separate affidavits in terms of order passed on August, 04, 2022, failing which both the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, and the Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, were directed to remain present in person on the next date.
The court noted that the order dated August, 25, 2022, has not been complied with.
Dismayed over the "disobedience", it underscored that neither the requisite affidavits of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, and Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, in terms of order dated August, 04, 2022, are filed nor the two officers have come present.
The bench pointed out that even the counsel for the respondents is not present.
"It is, thus, clear that both the officers are in defiance mode and have no respect for the orders of this court," the court said, adding, "In these circumstances, it is left with no option but to secure the presence of the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, and Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, through bailable warrants in the amount of Rs.20,000 each to be executed by IGP, Kashmir, Srinagar."
On August 04, 2022, the court took note of the statement of facts/reply affidavit filed by Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, and Deputy Commissioner Srinagar.
The bench had noted that the two statements of facts filed by Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, and Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, are at variance.
It recorded that there seems to be an attempt to pass on buck from one to another.
Justice Kumar underscored that the Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, in his reply affidavit denies having hired the hotel of the petitioner, whereas the Financial Commissioner has stated otherwise.
The court noted that it has been in the affidavit of Divisional Commissioner Kashmir that even the requisite funds for disbursement of rentals to the owners of the hotels hired in connection with DDC and Panchayat elections are placed at the disposal of the Deputy Commissioner.
"In view of the contradictory stand taken by the two authorities of the Union Territory, it is necessary to call both of them to appear in person to explain the true position, so that further action in this contempt petition is initiated for non-compliance of the judgment of this Court," the court had directed.
The court was hearing a contempt plea by Hotel Sideeq Palace through its proprietor, Ghulam Rasool Nadaf seeking release of admitted liability towards the owner on account of rental compensation which was hired in connection with DDC and Panchayat elections.
Earlier, on February 09, 2022, the Divisional Commissioner was directed to consider the case of the petitioner for release of admitted liability towards the petitioner on account of rental compensation.
The court had also directed the Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar to deposit Rs. 50 lacs in the Registry of the court within three weeks, if it is available under this particular head, which shall be kept in a fixed deposit and shall not be released till such time, as a decision is taken with regard to the actual entitlement of the petitioner to receive the rental compensation.