Delhi Police Will Ensure Safety of Payal Abdullah: MHA to HC

New Delhi
Delhi Police Will Ensure Safety of Payal Abdullah: MHA to HC

The Centre today told the Delhi High Court it cannot give government accommodation on security grounds to Payal Abdullah, estranged wife of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, and it is for Delhi Police to ensure her safety for her stay in the national capital.

The submission was made by MHA during hearing of Payal's plea to retain the bungalow in Lutyens zone, where she is residing now with her two sons, on the ground of having 'Z' and 'Z plus' security.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) told Justice Indermeet Kaur that the government accommodation, on security grounds, is given only to SPG protectees.

It said that "general threat to them is perceived from Kashmiri millitants for being the family member of Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah, and in Delhi their threat quotient is assessed to be not as high as in Kashmir".

The government's response came in the backdrop of the plea by the woman, who has sought that she and her children be not evicted from 7, Akbar Road (type VIII) bungalow here or an alternative accommodation be provided in view of their security status and threat to their lives.

The Centre, through its counsel Anurag Ahluwalia, also said there is "no input with it indicating any specific or imminent threat to Payal Abdullah".

"Delhi Police would ensure that adequate and appropriate security is provided to her in Delhi at any place of stay in the national capital" the government said.

It also said that the police will manage the accommodation of the personnel in their security detail.

One reason given by Payal for retaining her current accommodation was that she and her sons' security detail comprises of 94 personnel.

The bench was also told that three central government protectees -- KPS Gill, ex-DGP Punjab, M S Bitta, chairman of All-India Anti-Terrorist Front and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy, other than SPG protectess, are residing in government accomodation on security grounds in view of high-level threat faced by them.

The court, however, could not hold a detail hearing on the ground an adjournment was sought on behalf of the petitioner.

It made clear that the trial court judge should pass its order on the eviction proceedings on August 16.

The court had on July 12 given protection to them against being evicted from their government accomodation.

The Jammu and Kashmir government has opposed Payal Abdullah's stay in the bungalow, saying it was faced with an extremely piquant situation as it does not have an appropriate accommodation to house the Chief Minister in Delhi befitting her position and security imperatives.

In their plea, Payal Abdullah and her children have claimed that the Centre, through a letter dated September 9, 2015, allotted the 7, Akbar Road bungalow to the state of Jammu and Kashmir as the Chief Minister's residence with retrospective effect from August 11, 2009, without following the due process of law which was thus illegal.

They have contended that the website of the Department of Hospitality and Protocol of Government of Jammu and Kashmir shows that the residence of Chief Minister of the state was 5, Prithviraj Road.

Their petition, filed through advocate Amit Khemka, has claimed that they moved the high court as Omar Abdullah in his response to the estate officer's show cause notice had said he was no longer in occupation of the premises and, hence the authority was free to take whatever steps necessary to take over the premises.

The petitioners, including the couple's two children, have sought parity with Priyanka Gandhi, Subramanian Swamy and several others who have been granted government accommodation on security grounds.

The petitioners have contended that the eviction order was passed without allowing them to lead evidence and without granting any personal hearing to them.

As per the eviction order, the petitioners were given 15 days to vacate the premises.

Payal, in her plea, has said she has a flat in the city, but it would be "totally insufficient for making elaborate security arrangements for their protection" as there were other flats in the same building.


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