A bench of the J&K Special Tribunal on Friday fixed April 6, 2023, for final arguments on the much-publicized case of the controversial palatial bungalow of senior BJP leader and former Deputy Chief Minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh.
The bench headed by member Judicial Rajiv Gupta has listed the date for final arguments on the much-publicized appeal preferred by Mamta Singh wife of Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh against the demolition notice of Jammu Development Authority (JDA).
While fixing the matter for final arguments, the Presiding Officer of the J&K Special Tribunal, Jammu observed that on January 24th, 2023 the appellant Mamta Singh moved an application wherein she contended that her case is covered under Unified Building Bye-Laws, 2021, and her case be considered in the light of the said Bye-Laws.
The Jammu Development Authority (JDA) filed their response saying that the Unified Building Bye-Laws, 2021 have a prospective effect and the case of the appellant Mamta Singh cannot be considered under new Bye-Laws.
When this matter came up for hearing advocate Jugal Kishore Gupta with advocate Rahul Sadotra appearing for the appellant Mamta Singh sought more time to respond to the objections filed by the JDA.
However, the Law Officer JDA present on behalf of Advocate Adarsh Sharma submitted that this is purely a legal question and no further time should be allowed for the appellant to controvert the objections filed by the JDA.
The Member(Judicial) of the J&K Special Tribunal, Rajiv Gupta after considering the rival contentions observed, "in my considered opinion, the question as to the retrospective or prospective operation of the Unified Building Bye-Laws, 2021 can be considered while hearing final arguments on merits of the appeal. No finding on that issue is necessary to be returned at this stage. Thus, there is no need for the appellant to make any clarificatory response to the objections."
Earlier final arguments adjourned on request of Mamta Singh
Notably, even on previous dates of hearing, the final arguments could not be heard as the matter was adjourned at the request of the appellant Mamta Singh's counsel on the ground that the arguing counsel in the matter advocate R.K. Gupta was not available for advancing the arguments on behalf of the appellant. It is apt to mention here that even before that the matter was adjourned on various hearings due to the non-availability of the Bench-II at J&K Special Tribunal, Jammu as the then Presiding Judicial Member of the Bench had been elevated as the Additional Judge of the High Court of J&K and Ladakh.
Nirmal Singh was asked to demolish the illegally constructed palatial bungalow
The Jammu Development Authority (JDA) on November 8, 2021, had served a notice to Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh asking him to demolish his illegally constructed palatial house on the outskirts of the city within five days. The house has been constructed at village Ban in Nagrota area in Jammu.
As per order vide no JDA/BOCA/A/1271-76 dated 8-11-2021, JDA issued an order of demolition in terms of section 7(3) of control of Building operation Act, 1988 to Dr. Nirmal Kumar Singh and his wife Mamta Singh.
Singh and his family had moved into the palatial house near the Army's ammunition sub-depot on July 23, 2021, even though the High Court had in May 2018 directed the authorities to ensure "strict implementation" of a 2015 notification barring the general public from carrying out any construction within 1,000 yards of defence works.
Singh's wife approached Court against the demolition notice
Against the said demolition notice, Mamta Singh filed a statutory appeal before the J&K Special Tribunal, and the Special Tribunal while taking cognizance of the appeal stayed the operation of the demolition notice. The stay has been extended from time to time and in the meantime, the JDA has filed its response stating that it's a case of "violation" and the appeal merits to be dismissed.
An advocate of Dr. Nirmal Singh submitted that the former Deputy Chief Minister is the owner in possession of a residential plot measuring 04 Kanals comprising in Khasra No. 441 Min, Khata No. 534 Min, Khewat No. situated at Revenue village Ban, which was purchased by him vide Sale Deed dated 20.05.2014 and the area where the land is situated, being outside the jurisdiction of any development authority, the appellant raised the construction of a house and the structure of the house was completed in all respects at the beginning of the year 2017.