Taking a stern view over the defiance of its orders, the Jammu & Kashmir & Ladakh High Court on Tuesday issued bailable warrants against Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir and Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, after both the authorities failed to file affidavits and appear before it in connection with the release of rental compensation in favour of a hotel owner which was hired for District Development Council and Panchayat elections held last year.
The bench comprising Justice Sanjeev Kumar was hearing a contempt plea by Hotel Sideeq Palace through its proprietor, Ghulam Rasool Nadaf seeking release of admitted liability.
Earlier, on February 09, 2022, the Divisional Commissioner was directed to consider the case of the petitioner. Later in August this year, the court had granted two weeks' "last and final opportunity" to the officers to file two separate affidavits, failing which both of them were directed to remain present in person on the next date.
This was after the Court found the statements of facts filed by the two authorities to be at variance. "There seems to be an attempt to pass on buck from one to another," it had said.
Justice Kumar further observed that the Deputy Commissioner in his reply affidavit denies having hired the hotel of the petitioner, whereas the Financial Commissioner has stated otherwise.
The court also noted that Divisional Commissioner's affidavit as per which the funds for disbursement of rentals to the hotel owners hired in connection with DDC and Panchayat elections are placed at the disposal of 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.
Furthermore, 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.
While hearing the contempt petition on Tuesday, the bench was exasperated to note that that the order dated August, 25, 2022, had not been complied with.
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.
Expressing serious displeasure over the disobedience, the bench remarked, "both the officers are in defiance mode and have no respect for the orders of this court."
Case Title : Hotel Sideeq Palace Vs P. K Pole