On Monday, the Jammu and Kashmir Special Tribunal dismissed a petition filed by whistleblower advocate Muzaffar Ali Shah regarding the order to demolish former Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh’s house.

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Rejecting the application, the Tribunal, headed by judicial member Rajesh Sekhri, relied on several judgments of the Supreme Court as well as various high courts, holding that a person cannot be allowed to interfere in a matter only because he is a person. So is the complainant, and the prescribed authority initiated action on his complaint.

Sekhri submitted that the subject of the appeal is the notice issued by the Jammu Development Authority to the appellant, and the issue is whether it is justified or not. The Tribunal observed that it is for the respondent JDA to defend the notice under the material on record.

Advocate Shah had sought his side as the respondent in the appeal filed by Nirmal Singh’s wife against the encroachment removal order issued by the JDA in November last year. As a result, the JDA has issued a notice to the BJP leader asking him to demolish his palatial bungalow near the Army’s ammunition sub-depot in Nagrota’s Ban village.

The Tribunal had earlier ordered that the impugned order dated November 8, 2021, shall remain in abeyance and the parties were directed to maintain the status quo. However, only after the matter became public through an RTI information received by Shah did the JDA issue the order to remove the encroachment.

The JDA has already filed a detailed reply to the application for stay with an appeal, terming the construction a major violation as no building permission was sought from the JDA. Accordingly, the Tribunal has fixed the final hearing for the main appeal on June 9.

Amish Mahajan