Rashid Paul

HC issues contempt notice to Gulmarg BOCA for not allowing repairs at HAWS

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Srinagar, Oct 26: The High Court on Friday issued contempt notice against authorities at the ski resort of Gulmarg for not abiding by its orders that permitted repairs of the Indian Army’s High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS).

Justice Alok Aradhe who heard the contempt petition filed by HAWS against the Building Operation Controlling Authority (BOCA) of Gulmarg Development Authority directed notice against it under the Contempt of Courts Act.

The petitioner Army sought initiation of contempt proceedings against the respondent State government officials for allegedly violating court orders that granted it permission to renovate its High Altitude Warfare School and its affiliated infrastructure established in 1948.

The petitioners held that the school is a critical place from its military point-of-view and that the area is an “infiltration route” allegedly used by the militants from Pakistan-administered-Kashmir to enter the hinterland. It is thus highly vulnerable to militant actions, it said.

It further stated that the Indian Army at HAWs imparts training to its officers for fighting in high altitudes and that its maintenance and availability in appropriate conditions is imperative for the nation.

“To ensure the safety of the buildings and upgradation of the infrastructure and to meet the changing requirements of the Indian Army and the HAWS, the buildings have to be kept in proper conditions,” it emphasised.

It is mentionable that construction activity has been banned by the High Court in the Gulmarg region after the wholesale vandalisation of its ecosystem.

Justice Aradhe held “it is truly unfortunate that over one-and-half year has passed and the position is that some of orders have been complied with”.

He directed reply, if any, be filed by the State officials before the next date of hearing.

“Subject to the HAWS maintaining a video recording of the existing structure, it is permitted to affect the repairs and renovation which it has communicated to the BOCA,” he directed.

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