New Delhi: Payal Abdullah, estranged wife of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, has moved Delhi High Court seeking government accommodation for her and her sons on the ground that they enjoyed 'Z' and 'Z plus' security status.
A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal issued notice to the Centre and sought their response on her appeal challenging a single judge's 19 August order asking her to vacate the 7 Akbar Road bungalow in Lutyen's Delhi that she was residing in.
In her appeal, she has sought a direction to the Centre to provide her and her sons with accommodation on parity with others who enjoyed similar security status and have been given government accommodation.
She has also claimed to be a central government protectee, a claim which the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), represented by advocate Anurag Ahluwalia, had disputed before the single judge.
Her petition claims that she and her sons were living in a rented flat which is not appropriate on security grounds.
In her appeal, she has contended that the 19 August order of the single judge mentioned no date and time of eviction and "hence the very act of summoning and pressing into service of armed public auxiliary/servants of different forces" for giving effect to the order was in violation of The Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act.
She has contended that under the Act, possession of a public premises cannot be taken after sunset, whereas she and her sons were evicted on the evening of 22 August.
Payal has also challenged the single judge's observation that if her husband and father-in-law, both of whom are 'Z plus' protectees, could be secured in private accommodation, there is "no reason" why she and her sons cannot be.
She contended that her husband, Omar, and father-in-law, Farooq Abdullah, were temporary visitors to Delhi and can be protected in private premises for the short duration, unlike her who is a permanent resident here.
The single judge in her order had said Payal and her sons were "liable to be evicted forthwith", after terming their entitlement to retain the bungalow as "wholly illegal".
The court had said that Payal's apprehension that she and her sons would not be given adequate security cover was "misconceived" and dismissed her plea to retain the 7 Akbar Road bungalow.
Prior to the high court's 19 August decision, on 16 August, a trial court here had asked her to move out of the house. Three days later, Justice Indermeet Kaur had asked Payal's counsel "Will you gracefully evict or I should pass an order?"
However, as the counsel had refused, the high court had said it would pass a detailed order later on her plea.
In its 15-page judgement, the high court had said that Payal and her sons were deriving their entitlement to retain the bungalow only through the official position of Omar Abdullah and "have no independent right or claim in this property".
"This accommodation has now been alloted to the new Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. The admitted position as on date is thus that the petitioners are residing in this property as illegal occupants. Their entitlement to stay in the aforenoted government alloted bungalow is no longer available to them. They are admittedly not in government employment," the court had said.
The single judge had also rejected Payal's argument that she and her sons were central protectees by saying that as per a secret document submitted by MHA, their security status was granted by the state of Jammu and Kashmir because they were the wife and children of Omar Abdullah.