Srinagar, Nov 17: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has sought an explanation from authorities over the construction of a multi-storeyed commercial building at Rajbagh area of Srinagar which is barely 10 to 15 feet from the banks of the River Jhelum.
“This Court is Custodia Legis and in seisen of the subject matter including the River Jhelum, it is not conceivable as to how the permissions have been granted by authorities without even intimation to this Court,” a bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Puneet Gupta said in an order.
“In this view of the matter, all the authorities including the owner of the building in question owe an explanation to this Court under what circumstances the permissions have been granted,” the court said and directed the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir to file an affidavit, detailing therein the ownership of the land on which the construction is coming up with effect from 1947; the status of this land after the flooding of River Jhelum in September 2014, the constructions which have been permitted to come up on the land with effect from 1947 and the complete details of permissions granted in chronological order.
“In case the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir requires any assistance or information from any other authority, he shall seek the same from the concerned departments who shall cooperate with him and forthwith make available relevant information,” the court said and asked him to “positively” file the affidavit before November 18.
The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, the court directed shall also conduct an inquiry and place before it the permission sought to Inland Waterway Authority of India.
The court also directed the J&K State Pollution Control Board to file an affidavit with regard to the permission granted by it to owner of the structure in question regarding discharge of sewage, treated effluents from any STP into the River Jhelum.
“The Inspector General of Police, Traffic, shall inform this Court as to the permission granted by it to raise a commercial structure at the spot in question and the plan in place for management of the burden on the traffic which will result due to coming up and operationalisation of this commercial structure at the site in question.”
The division bench also directed the Srinagar Municipal Corporation, the Revenue Department and the Irrigation and Flood Control Department to file affidavits before the Court with regard to the permission(s) granted to it for construction of a multi-storeyed commercial building “which is barely about between 10 to 15 feet from the banks of the River Jhelum. “
The court also directed that no construction, renovation or completion etc. at all of any kind shall be carried out on the building in question till it passes an appropriate order. “We direct Mr. B. A. Dar, learned Sr. AAG, to visit the spot in question and inform this Court as to how the pressure on the infrastructure / sewage, garbage, solid waste shall be managed by the authorities, if the commercial activity on the spot in question is permitted,” the court added.