HC Allows Army To Carry Repairs Of ‘HAWS’ With Rider 

SRINAGAR — The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Wednesday permitted army to carry repairs and renovation of High Altitude Warfare School (‘HAWS’) at Gulmarg subject to it maintaining a video recording of the existing structure. 

“We make it clear that in case the applicant (army) deviate from the information which has been furnished to BOCA (of Gulmarg Development Authority) , no equity shall flow in favour of the applicant (army) and the applicant would have to abide by any orders which may be necessitated,” a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Alok Aradhe said while hearing a contempt petition filed by the army against the GDA for not complying with government orders. 

In the application, it has been stated the High Altitude Warfare School (Army) (‘HAWS’) has been established in the year 1948 and contempt proceedings were sought to be initiated against the respondents, complaining violation of the orders dated 22nd August, 2017, 16th November, 2017 and 2 nd June, 2018 pasased by the high Court. 

The matter relates to the premises of the High Altitude Warfare School and its affiliated infrastructure located at Gulmarg which requires “imperative” renovation and reconstruction. 

“It needs no intensive elaboration that Gulmarg is a critical place from both civil as well as military point of view,” the court observed.

It is pointed out that it is one of the infiltration routes used by the militants from POK to the hinterland and is thus highly vulnerable to militants actions. “So far as HAWs is concerned, the Army imparts training to its officers in HAWS. It is utilized for the purpose of imparting training in service in high altitude regions not only to the Indian Army officers but also to the personnel from all over the world. Significantly, the court observed that it is stated to be the only High Altitude Warfare Centre in the country and all officers of the Army, who have been trained in high altitude warfare stand trained in this institute. 

“We are noting these submissions only for the purpose of illustrating and emphasizing the strategic importance of the School as well as of its proper maintenance and availability of appropriate conditions,” the court said. 

The army stated that the same is absolutely imperative for the security and integrity of the nation. 

“One more important fact stated in the application is the importance of maintaining the security of the Line of Control which is stated to have necessitated to increase the requirement of troops trained in high altitude warfare and administrative infrastructure. For all these reasons, it is essential to ensure the safety of the buildings and upgradation of the infrastructure to meet the changing requirements of the Indian Army and the HAWS.”

So far as the existing structures are concerned, the army pointed out that the existing structures are 50/60 years old and on account of efflux of time and vagaries of weather, it has been rendered unsafe for habitation. Connecting roads were stated to have deteriorated and are in bad state of repairs. 

The army pointed out the extreme urgency in the matter keeping in view not only the immediate requirement of the Indian Army but also the imperatives of ensuring national security at this sensitive and critical area. “So far as the urgency is concerned, it has been highlighted that in view of the ensuing winter season, which would result in heavy snow fall in the area, it may be extremely difficult to carry out the necessary repairs and would be the source of huge inconvenience to the High Altitude Warefare School and the Indian Army,” the court observed , adding, “In the meantime, it is directed that subject to the army maintaining a video recording of the existing structure, it is permitted to effect the repairs and renovation which it has communicated to the BOCA which applications are pending. We make it clear that in case the applicant deviate from the information which has been furnished to BOCA, no equity shall flow in favour of the applicant and the applicant would have to abide by any orders which may be necessitated.” 

 

 

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