SRINAGAR The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday chided authorities for failure to take action against those who continue to hold state land despite expiry of lease in Gulmarg, the world famous tourist resort in north Kashmir.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan said it is against the larger interests of public and directed the authorities to take the final decision on the issue on or before next date of hearing. The court asked authorities to submit report to the court in this connection
Taking serious view on the approach of GDA, court warned initiating action against the officials of GDA and granted one more opportunity to them to take the decision on the issue.
Taking tough stand on retention and withholding of public property beyond time limit, the high court had directed the Government to place the stand about recovery of property in Gulmarg where leases or licenses have already expired. Advocate General today informed the court that a meeting has taken place on March 7 and the decision will be taken soon on the issue.
Advocate General assured the court that the decision be taken positively and the same be placed before the court as such one more opportunity is granted to have the decision, the court added.
The High Court had earlier also directed government to clear stand with regard to the recovery of the possession of the property where leases and licenses have expired in Gulmarg.
“It is trite that public property is held in public trust by the respondents (officials) and has to be dealt with in a non-arbitrary and transparent manner ensuring that public interest is best served,” the court had said.
“No person can be permitted to utilize the property with the intention of furthering of private interest of any person or authority. It has to be ensured that the maximum benefit results to the public as a result thereof,” the court had said.
During the proceedings previously, the court’s attention was drawn to SRO-580 wherein the maximum period for which a lease could be granted was 40 years.
“Obviously, no extension beyond this period is permissible,” the court had said and directed the official respondents to place on affidavit also their stand with regard to the recovery of the possession of the property where leases/licenses have expired.
“We shall also be informed in the affidavit about the manner in which such public property shall be dealt with. If the same is to be allowed to a private persons, the procedure which would be followed for the same.”