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The Delhi High Court today reserved its order on a plea of Payal Abdullah, estranged wife of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, for 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 V K Rao said that it will consider whether Payal and her kids was entitled to get the government accommodation on parity with some of the political leaders who have been granted the same on security ground.
The petitioners, including the couple's two children, have sought parity with others who enjoyed similar security status and have been given government accommodation.
The court was hearing an appeal against a single judge's August 19 order asking her to vacate the 7, Akbar Road bungalow in Lutyen's Delhi that she was residing in.
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), however, opposed her contention for government accommodation on the ground of security threat and said it is for Delhi Police to ensure safety for her stay here.
Her counsel claimed that she and her sons were living in a rented flat which is not appropriate on security ground as they have to house around 90 security personnel, who have to stay on roads near their accommodation.
In her appeal, she has contended that the August 19 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.
The counsel argued 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 August 22.
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 secure 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 a short duration, unlike her who is a permanent resident here.
The single judge had said Payal and her sons were "liable to be evicted forthwith", after terming their entitlement to retain the bungalow as "wholly illegal". Justice Indermeet Kaur 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 bungalow. Prior to the high court's August 19 decision, a trial court here had on Augusut 16 asked her to move out of the house. Three days later, Justice Kaur had asked Payal's counsel, "Will you gracefully evict or I should pass an order?" However, her counsel had refused to do so. It 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.