The Telangana High Court held that the wife of an Army Officer has no right to continue in the accommodation allotted to the officer i.e., her husband to which he does not seek entitlement.

The Court was deciding an intra court appeal filed by the Army Officer’s wife against the order of the Single Judge.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Anil Kumar Jukanti said, “It is pertinent to note that the accommodation was allotted to respondent No.3 when he was posted in field area at Udhampur. Since 28.06.2021, respondent No.3 has been posted in a peace area of State of Uttarakhand. Therefore, he is not entitled to accommodation in Secunderabad. The aforesaid position has not been disputed by respondent No.3 by contesting the proceeding before the competent authority under the Act. Therefore, the appellant, who is the wife of army officer, has no right to continue in the accommodation allotted to the army officer (respondent No.3), to which the army officer does not seek entitlement.”

The Bench further noted that eight notices were issued to the officer’s wife but she is continuing in unauthorised occupation of the accommodation for more than 2.5 years.

Advocate M. Sai Chandra Haas appeared for the appellant while Deputy Solicitor General Gadi Praveen Kumar and Advocate Prudhvi Raju Madunuri appeared for the respondents.

In this case, an order of eviction was passed against the officer’s wife by the Station Commander, Secunderabad, in exercise of powers under Section 5 of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 1971. She challenged the validity of such an order which was disposed of by the Single Judge and the liberty was granted to her to vacate the premises till December 31, 2023. Her husband was colonel serving in Indian Army and he was posted in Jammu and Kashmir. Thereupon, he was allotted an accommodation and was entitled to the same so long as he was posted in the field area.

However, the husband was posted in Uttarakhand, a peace area and hence, his entitlement to retain the accommodation in Secunderabad came to an end by efflux of time. A matrimonial dispute between the husband and wife was pending and the wife did not vacate the said accommodation allotted to her husband. Thereafter, notices were issued to her to handover the possession of the same but she refused to do so. Then, a competent authority passed an order by which she was directed to vacate the same but she filed a petition before the Single Judge who upheld the validity of the said order. Being dissatisfied, she filed an appeal.

The High Court in the above regard observed, “The competent authority under the 1971 Act had issued notices to the appellant to which the appellant had submitted reply. Thereafter, the order of eviction has been passed. Admittedly, respondent No.3 was not entitled to accommodation in Secunderabad after 28.06.2021 i.e., the date on which he was posted in a peace area in the State of Uttarakhand.”

The Court said that the contention of the counsel for the appellant that the provisions of 1971 Act had been violated, is not tenable. It added by saying that mere posting of officer at Secunderabad will not entitle his wife to continue unauthorisedly in the accommodation allotted to him earlier.

“Insofar as the contention raised by learned counsel for the appellant that since respondent No.3 has been transferred to Secunderabad on 27.08.2023, the appellant is entitled to continue in the accommodation allotted to respondent No.3, it is pertinent to note that the aforesaid fact was not urged before the learned Single Judge. … Respondent No.3, on his posting at Secunderabad, is required to make an application for allotment of accommodation, which shall be dealt with in accordance with the Rules by the competent authority”, also observed the Court.

The Court said that, therefore, the contention of the counsel for the appellant that on transfer of her husband to Secunderabad, she gets a right to continue unauthorisedly in the accommodation is sans substance.

“In case, the appellant furnishes an undertaking before the competent authority by tomorrow i.e., 29.12.2023 that she will peacefully vacate the accommodation without creating any hindrance, she will be permitted to occupy the accommodation till 15.01.2024. In case undertaking is not furnished by the appellant by tomorrow i.e., 29.12.2023, the competent authority shall proceed to take action against the appellant for her eviction from the accommodation in accordance with law”, it concluded.

Accordingly, the High Court disposed of the writ appeal.

Cause Title- Esha Sharma v. Government of India

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