A Division Bench of the State High Court comprising Chief Justice Bader Durrez Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Kumar have expressed deep displeasure over the allotment of a cattle pound situated at Gandhi Nagar, Jammu by the Jammu Municipal Corporation in favour of Ex-Joint Commissioner (Adm) Municipal Corporation Jammu namely R.S. Jamwal. The Division Bench took serious view of the allotment made in favour of a Retired Officer of the Jammu Municipal Corporation for the land/space earmarked for cattle pound. The Division Bench after going through the records of allotment produced in the open court by Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed appearing for the PIL directed the Commissioner Jammu Municipal Corporation to file a comprehensive affidavit explaining as to how and on whose orders the cattle pound at Gandhi Nagar, Jammu was closed and later allotted to the Joint Commissioner (Adm) Jammu Municipal Corporation.These court directions were passed in a Public Interest Litigation filed by an NGO (SAVE) through its Chairperson Devinder Kour Madaan alias Rumpy Madaan seeking closure of 59 illegal/ unregistered milk dairies running within the limits of Jammu Municipal Corporation and also for regulating the functioning of existing 57 number of registered dairies as per the existing norms and guidelines issued by JMC under Section 44(n) of Jammu Municipal Corporation Act, 2000.
Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with Advocates Rahul Raina, Suraj Singh and Supriya Chouhan appearing for the PIL drew the attention of the Division Bench towards the amended reply filed by JMC wherein it was submitted that JMC has one cattle pound situated at Dogra Hall, Jammu and capacity of the cattle pound is to accommodate 70/80 animals at a time. It was further submitted that all the Gowshalas running within and outside the limits of JMC have refused to adopt the animals due to non-availability of space and accordingly Deputy Commissioner, Jammu has been requested for identifying/providing land so that animals of the un-registered dairies are shifted till the time such unregistered dairies are regulated and managed as per the norms framed by JMC. Advocate S.S. Ahmed appearing for the petitioner NGO submitted that in both the replies filed by JMC a misleading statement has been given that JMC has one cattle pound situated at Dogra Hall, Jammu when the fact remains there is one more cattle pound at Gandhi Nagar, Jammu which has been illegally/ arbitrarily closed by JMC and has been allotted vide order No.JMC/ RB/1053-55 dated 10-02-2016 in favour of R.S. Jamwal (KAS) Joint Commissioner (Adm) Municipal Corporation Jammu.
The Division Bench after going through the norms framed by JMC issued directions in the open court to the Commissioner JMC to take action as per the norms against the illegal diary units and further directed that licenses be issued to only those dairy units who conform to the norms framed by JMC. The Division Bench made it clear in its order that today’s order may not be construed by Commissioner JMC to grant licenses but the licenses be issued strictly as per the norms referred as Annexure-D in the PIL. The Division Bench also directed Commissioner, JMC to file a comprehensive affidavit within four weeks about the action taken against un-registered dairies and also the action taken on the applications received by JMC from Dairy Units for grant of license. The Division Bench further directed the JMC to explore the possibilities of identifying new places for more cattle pounds in Jammu City. Advocate Amita Khajuria appearing for the Chief Executive Officer, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, New Delhi apprised the Division Bench that a comprehensive reply to the PIL has been filed and Govt. Advocate Sanjeev Padha also informed the Division Bench about the filing of reply on behalf of Commissioner of Food Safety, J&K Government. Senior Advocate M.K. Bhardwaj with Advocates Ajay Vaid and Gagan Kohli appeared on behalf of the owners of 59 un-registered dairy units whereas AAG Rohit Kapoor caused appearance for State Pollution Control Board.
AAG Rohit Kapoor appearing for State Pollution Control Board assured the Division Bench that while issuing NOCs to the owners of the dairy units the norms governing the field and also the norms prescribed by JMC will be strictly adhered to and there will be no laxity in this behalf on the part of PCB. He further requested the Division Bench that a copy of the PIL be furnished to him and upon this Advocate S.S. Ahmed assured to provide the same during the course of the day. The Division Bench looking into the importance of the PIL directed the Registry to re-notify the same on December, 21, 2017.