The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Monday pulled up Former State Minister Choudhary Lal Singh as it dismissed with costs his fresh petition against an eviction notice for vacating government accommodation here.

A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Tashi Rabstan and Justice Rajesh Sekhri held that the application has been filed with the sole intention to prolong his unauthorized occupation and is an "abuse of the process of law".

On November 15, a single bench of the High Court dismissed Singh's petition against the eviction notice and directed him to vacate the government bungalow at the posh Gandhi Nagar area of Jammu within six weeks.

Singh, who is president of Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan Party (DSSP), was among several politicians who have been served notices by the Estates department in October to vacate government accommodation in the Gandhi Nagar locality of Jammu.

He had moved the Court against the notice, contending that he is covered under 'Z-security' and should be allowed to retain the government accommodation till the government reassesses and decides the issue of his security.

"Though the applicant has admitted that the writ petition filed by him against proceedings under the Public Premises Act was dismissed as withdrawn by the single bench, yet he has come up with the instant application with the sole intention to prolong his unauthorised occupation, when the period of six weeks granted to him for the vacation of the bungalow would expire tomorrow (December 27)," the bench said in a seven-page order.

"It is evident that security assessment and entitlement to government accommodation are two different issues and cannot be intermingled to defeat the process of law,"
it said.

"The present application..., being devoid of merit, is dismissed with costs quantified at Rs 25,000 to be deposited in the Advocates' Welfare Fund within a period of two weeks, failing which, the Registry shall maintain the index," the bench said.

Singh, a two-time MP and three-time MLA switched from Congress to BJP in 2014 and was also a minister in the previous PDP-BJP government which collapsed in June 2018 after the national party pulled out of the alliance.

Several months before the fall of the government, Singh resigned from the BJP and floated DSSP following an uproar over his participation in a rally in support of an accused in the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua in January 2018. However, he defended his participation in the rally stating that he was there to "defuse the situation".

In February late year, the J-K High Court directed the government to evict former ministers and legislators who are in "illegal occupation" of government bungalows.

The Estates department, in its status report filed in the court, named 89 former ministers and ex-legislators who continued to occupy the govt bungalows.

With PTI Inputs