Rashid Paul

Karan Singh moves court over occupation of his Lake Pavilion property in Dal Lake by security forces

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HC asks central and UT govts to file reply to Singh’s petition

Srinagar: J&K High Court on Wednesday directed some top civil and security officers of the central and union territory governments to file reply in a writ petition by Dr Karan Singh, former president of the erstwhile state of J&K, over the forcible occupation of his property by government forces within Dal Lake.

Dr Karan Singh through his counsel Syed Faisal Qadiri in his writ said that he is the absolute owner of the property — Lake Pavilion — popularly known as KabootarKhana, located in Dal Lake.

In 1990, petitioner’s property comprising two hutments and nearly 22 kanals of land was taken over unilaterally without fixation of any rent or the assessment of rental value by Border Security Force (BSF) until 1993, reads his petition.

It said that the Additional Secretary to Government, Home Department in 1993 accorded sanction to the grant of rent at Rs 1,464 per month for the entire property.

From 1990 to 2003, the property was under the occupation of the BSF, it added.

The property, according to the petition, was handed over to Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in December in 2003, while the water wing of the BSF also remained on the property.

Dr Karan Singh, the prince of the last sovereign king of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, said even at this stage his consent was not taken by the occupier “nor was I informed about the transition of occupancy from BSF to CRPF”.

The Home Secretary J&K, in terms of his order of 2006, revised the rates for occupation of land that is appurtenant to a building which is under the occupation of security forces, he added.

In 2009, the Home Secretary revised the rates of land under the occupation of the security forces yet again.

“In protest, on 09.07.2011, the petitioner returned the un-cashed Demand Draft of Rs 5,820 for a year in lieu of occupation of 21 Kanals and 19 Marlas. The rent fixed for the property is negligible and hence not acceptable anymore,” said Dr Singh.

He further reiterated his stance with regards vacation of the property for personal use and necessary repair and renovation.

He said that the respondent authorities had enhanced the yearly rent of land in respect of adjacent land under occupation by security forces belonging to two individuals — Ghulam Qadri Dar and Mst. Raja Bibi.

Justice Dheeraj Singh Thakur after hearing the petition issued notice to Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, New Delhi; Secretary Home Department, Civil Secretariat, Srinagar; Director General of Police, CRPF; Director General, BSF; Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police; Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, and Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar.

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