Rashid Paul

HC seeks details of all existing buildings, unauthorized structures in Gulmarg

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Srinagar: The J&K High Court has issued strict direction to the authorities to clearly specify the position of all existing buildings in Gulmarg tourist area including the details of unauthorized structures and the action taken against them.

The court left it open for the respondent authorities to proceed against the unauthorized occupants and the owners of the buildings in accordance with law.

The court emphatically required each of the respondents to file affidavit clearly indicating the position of all the existing buildings in the Gulmarg tourist area and the details of the unauthorized structures.

The court on 19th of May 2021 had asked the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) and the Chief Conservator of Forests, Kashmir to file compliance report on the matter.

A perusal of both the affidavits disclosed that the compliances did not conform with the requirement of the order.

“None of the respondents have filed any affidavit indicating the number of existing buildings with details, the details of all unauthorized buildings/structures and the legal action, if any, taken against the owners of those buildings,” observed a division bench comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mittal and Justice Sanjay Dhar.

The bench issued “a strict direction to each of the respondents to come out clearly on the above aspects even at the cost of repetition within a period of one month from today after supplying copies of the affidavits to all other parties concerned”.

The court disposed off a contempt petition on behalf of the Indian Army for initiating proceedings for contempt against the CEO GDA.

The petition said that the officer had disobeyed a 2016 court order permitting the High Altitude Warfare School (Army) to effect repairs and renovation in its building in the area.

The court directed “the BOCA/GDA to consider the application of the applicant and pass a speaking order in accordance with law”.

It directed the BOCA/GDA “to consider and decide the application of the applicant for granting permission/extension for repairs/renovation by passing a speaking order in the light of the earlier permission”.

The court asked the authorities to consider the application expeditiously on own merits in accordance with law preferably within a period of one month from today.

However, before its implementation the application has to be kept before the court for approval.

The court also disposed on similar terms certain applications by hoteliers and hut-owners seeking repairs of their structures.

The bench reiterated its earlier clarification that the court does not intend to usurp or take over the functions of the Development Authority or the BOCA.

The bench left it open for the authorities to entertain applications for the repairs and constructions of the buildings in accordance with the Master Plan and the By-laws.

However, it made it clear that any sanction so granted would not be implemented without the prior approval of this court.

The bench made it clear that the Deputy Commissioners do not come into picture at all in such matters.

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