After asking her orally to "gracefully" vacate the official bungalow here, Delhi High Court has said Payal Abdullah, estranged wife of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, and their sons are "liable to be evicted forthwith", terming their entitlement to retain the bungalow as "wholly illegal".
If Omar and Farooq Abdullah, both 'Z plus' protectees, can be secured while in private accommodation, "there is no reason" why Payal and her sons cannot be, the detailed verdict of Justice Indermeet Kaur made available today said, though the judgement was pronounced on August 19.
The court said 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 in Lutyens Delhi.
"Noting the above factual matrix, this court is of the view that the entitlement of the petitioners (Payal and her sons) to retain this accommodation is wholly illegal. It is government accommodation. Petitioners have no claim or right upon it. They are liable to be evicted forthwith. Their apprehension that they will not be given an adequate security cover is misconceived.
"If the husband (Omar) and father-in-law (Farooq) of petitioner 1 (Payal) can be adequately secured (living in private accommodations), there is no reason as to why the petitioners cannot be protected. In fact petitioner 1 is a 'Z' category protectee and Omar Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah are 'Z plus' protectees," the high court said in its order.
On August 16, a trial court here, had asked Payal to move out of the house in Lutyen's zone here. 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 be passing a detailed order later on her plea.
In its 15-page judgement, the high court 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 said.
The court also took note of a secret intelligence report placed before it regarding threat to Payal and her sons and said the document also showed "there was no specific threat to the petitioners, a general threat perception has alone been noted".
Regarding the petitioners claim that they have been discriminated against as compared to other protectees like K P S Gill, M S Bitta and Subramanian Swamy, who have been given government accommodation, the court said the contention was misconceived as according to the Centre those individuals faced imminent threat to their lives.
It also rejected the petitioners' argument that they were central protectees by saying that as per the secret document, the Z category security to Payal and the Z plus status of her sons was granted by the state of Jammu and Kashmir because they were the wife and children of Omar Abdullah.
"The argument of the petitioners that they are central protectees is thus clearly a misunderstood argument," the court said.
It further said that "perusal of the record satisfies this court that the prayers made by the petitioners cannot be answered in their favour".
Payal, in her petition filed through advocate Amit Khemka, had sought that she and her children should not be 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 had opposed her contention to retain the accommodation on the ground of security threat and said it was for Delhi Police to ensure her safety for her stay here. It had said that government accommodation, on security grounds, was given only to SPG protectees.
The Jammu and Kashmir government too had opposed Payal'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.
As per the eviction order issued by the estate officer in June this year, the petitioners were given 15 days to vacate the premises.
Payal, in her plea, had 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.