HC directs registry to place petition before CJ for treating it as PIL

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 11/4/2018 8:06:41 PM

JAMMU, Nov 3(JNF): In a significant order Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur of Jammu Kashmir High Court (Jammu Wing) has directed the Registry to place the writ petition filed by Inhabitants of Barjala and Khandwal (Niki Tawi Area) seeking release of funds amounting to Rs.793.00 lakhs for restoration works because of flash floods of 2014-15 and 2015-16 on left side of Nikki Tawi at Khandwal and Barjala before the Chief Justice of J&K High Court for obtaining the requisite orders for treating the instant petition as Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in view of the public interest involved in the matter as the petition has highlighted the damage caused every year during the flash floods to around 45 Villages in Niki Tawi Area which remains inundated due to flash floods.
When this writ petition filed by Inhabitants of Barjala and Khandwal through S. Gurdev Singh (Chairman, Panchayat Adalat Khandwal) and Ghulam Nabi Sheikh (Retd. Executive Engineer) came up for hearing Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Rahul Raina and Supriya Chouhan appearing for the petitioners drew the attention of the Court towards order dated August, 28, 2018 whereby last and final opportunity had been allowed by the Court to the Commissioner/Secretary PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Department to file counter affidavit failing which he was to remain personally present in the Court.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that matter again came up before the Registrar Judicial on September, 18, 2018 when one week’s final opportunity was again allowed to the Administrative Secretary, PHE Irrigation and Flood Control to comply order dated August, 28, 2018 and matter was directed to be placed before the Court on October, 1st, 2018.
Advocate SS Ahmed vociferously argued that Commissioner/ Secretary PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control has not bothered to file his counter affidavit despite the pre-emptory orders passed by the High Court and this is a fit situation for imposing heavy costs as well as for his personal appearance. On the other hand Deputy Advocate General Vishal Bharti appearing for PHE Department resisted the arguments of Advocate S.S. Ahmed and submitted that although he has received the records from the Department but the affidavit has not been ready so far.
The Deputy Advocate General Vishal Bharti further submitted that PHE Department has already filed objections/counter affidavit on behalf of Chief Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control Department and besides this objections have also been filed on behalf of Executive Engineer Flood Control Division Jammu and there is no need of filing counter affidavit on behalf of the Administrative Secretary, PHE Irrigation and Flood Control.
At this stage Advocate SS Ahmed further submitted that from the affidavits of the Chief Engineer, Executive Engineer and Secretary to Govt. Planning Development and Monitoring Department the Hon’ble Court desired the filing of affidavit by the Administrative Secretary PHE and for this explicit directions were issued by the Court on August, 28, 2018 followed by the order passed by Registrar Judicial on September, 18, 2018.
After considering the submissions of Advocate S.S. Ahmed appearing for the petitioners and Deputy Advocate General Vishal Bharti appearing for PHE Irrigation and Flood Control Department, Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur looking into the public interest involved in the matter directed the Registry in the open court to place the instant writ petition before the Chief Justice for obtaining appropriate orders for treating the present petition as Public Interest Litigation.

 

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