HC Critical Of Sub-Judge Pattan For Exceeding ‘Bounds Of Authority’

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Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday stayed an order by Sub-Judge Pattan for “going beyond the bounds of its authority” in assuming to itself the powers of local Municipal Committee regarding construction of a shopping complex in Pattan area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.

Taking suo-moto cognizance, a bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also directed court’s registry to register the matter under the appropriate case heading and issued notice the plaintiffs and the defendants (officials) in the civil suit, to show cause within 15 days as to why the October 23 order passed by the Sub-Judge, directing the local revenue and municipal committee not to interfere in the construction, not be set aside. 

Justice Magarey, who is portfolio Judge of District Baramulla, took the suo-moto cognizance amid complaints, received by him as well as the chief justice, against the presiding officer. 

The Sub-Judge Pattan had passed the order on a suit filed by eight persons, claiming to be members of the Ziyarat Shareef Committee Baba-Tang, Pattan. They had pleaded that they are concerned with the welfare of the Ziyarat Shareef and are in possession and in actual control of 26 Kanals and 4 Marlas of land at Pattan. They had stated that 8 Marlas of land reserved has been reserved for construction of a shopping complex for generating income for the welfare and development of infrastructure of the Ziyarat Shareef. They had claimed the Sub-Divisional Magistrate, Tehsildar and the Executive Officer, Municipal Committee, Pattan, are causing “unnecessary interference with the construction work and are not allowing them to raise the construction.”

“There is not even a jot or little contained in the plaint or the application for temporary injunction that the plaintiffs (the eight persons) had made any application to the competent authority for grant of building permission, nor is there any prayer made either in the plaint or the application seeking a direction to such competent authority to consider and accord building permission for raising any such construction,” the court said, adding, “Yet the trial court has proceeded to record in its order dated 23.10.2017: ‘It was the duty of (CEO Municipal Committee) to consider the application of the applicant committee with promptitude and pass orders in this regard and any negligence in this regard is being construed as a deemed permission under the provisions of law.”

Justice Magrey in the order said that few days back, he received an anonymous undated letter bearing four signatures, purported to be written by some Civil Citizen Forum/Civil Society Pattan, containing certain allegations against the Sub-Judge, Pattan.

“A few office bearers of the Srinagar Bar Association also approached and informed me about the arrest and detention of Advocate Saleem of Pattan, the Standing Counsel for the Municipal Committee Pattan. In this regard, I sought a report from the Principal District and Sessions Judge. He confirmed the facts, especially regarding the arrest of the Standing Counsel of the Municipal Committee on the allegations contained in the application filed by the plaintiffs (eight persons) and referred by the court to the Police for ensuring implementation of its order.”

The court observed that it was in the background the facts that he called for the record of the civil suit from the court of Sub-Judge, Pattan, for perusal.

“Accordingly, taking a suomotu notice of the matter, Registry is directed to register this matter under the appropriate case heading and issue notice, returnable within 15 days, to both, the plaintiffs and the defendants in the suit, requiring them to show cause why the order dated 23.10.2017 passed by the learned Sub-Judge, directing the defendants in the suit not to interfere in the construction in question, which actually tantamount permitting the plaintiffs to raise the construction in question without there being a building permission from the competent authority, be not set aside,” the court added.

 The court also ordered that till the final disposal of this matter, the operation of the aforesaid order dated 23.10.2017 to the extent it so permits raising of construction on the spot is stayed.

“The defendants in the suit and the Sub-Divisional Police Officer, Pattan, shall ensure that no such construction activity is allowed to be carried on the spot.”

 

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