INDICATING MORE trouble for senior BJP leaders Nirmal Singh and his wife Mamta Singh, the Jammu Development Authority (JDA) on Tuesday told the J&K Special Tribunal that going by the latter’s own admission about having built the bungalow at village Ban near Nagrota in early 2017, the construction was illegal as the area was brought under the JDA’s jurisdiction in 1984 and she was required to seek permission from it under provisions of the Control of Building Operations Act.
While Nirmal Singh is a former deputy chief minister of the erstwhile J&K state, his wife is a former vice-president of J&K BJP.
After the JDA issued a demolition notice dated November 8, asking Singh and his wife to demolish the house, Mamta Singh approached the special tribunal, challenging the order, saying the plot was bought on May 20, 2014, and the area was then outside the jurisdiction of any development authority. Also, the house was built prior to the coming into force of Jammu Master Plan, 2032, which was notified on March 3, 2017, which brought 103 villages, including Ban, under the JDA’s jurisdiction.
Following this, the tribunal kept in abeyance the JDA’s demolition order, asking both parties to maintain status quo till next date of hearing.
The Army too has filed a petition in the J&K and Ladakh High Court, challenging the construction of the bungalow as it is located just 580 yards from the boundary wall of its ammunition sub-depot. According to provisions of Works of Defence Act (WoDA), 1903, any construction activity is prohibited up to 1,000 yards.
Pointing out that Mamta Singh misled the tribunal by making false representation and by concealing material facts, the JDA in its objections to her appeal said that the area in Ban village was brought under its jurisdiction through an order dated August 10, 1984 and any person undertaking or intending to construct something there has to take permission from it as it was the custodian of the Master Plan.
Denying as “incorrect” the appellant’s admission in her appeal that she bought the 4-kanal plot through a sale deed dated May 20, 2014, and the construction of the house was completed in the beginning of 2017, the JDA said that “even for the sake of arguments, if we agree that the building was constructed in 2017, the appellant was still required to seek Building Permission from the competent authority under COBA (Control of Building Operations Act)”.
Referring to contents in her appeal, it said, “it is ample clear that the appellant constructed the house without permission from the competent authority as the area in question came under the jurisdiction of JDA in the year 1984 itself”.
“Thus, the whole structure constructed by the appellant is without permission as such falls in the category of major violation and hence, notice was served…,’’ it said.
The tribunal extended the stay against the JDA’s demolition notice till January 28, 2022, allowing further time to Mamta Singh to file objections in an application filed by advocate Muzzafar Ali Shah, who has sought his inclusion as a party in the case.