The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed the plea of Payal Abdullah, estranged wife of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah, for government housing on security ground, saying if her husband can shift to a private accommodation there is no reason to treat her differently.
“When Omar Abdullah himself has shifted to a private accommodation, there is no reason why the appellants (Payal and her sons) can be treated differently. We do not see any merit in the appeal. The same is dismissed,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice V K Rao said.
By its judgement, the court upheld the single judge’s August 19, 2016 order asking her to vacate the 7, Akbar Road bungalow in Lutyen’s Delhi where she and her sons were residing. Payal and her sons had appealed for government accommodation on the ground that they enjoyed ‘Z’ and ‘Z plus’ security status, respectively.
The division bench noted that as per the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), there was no immediate threat to them and this “cannot be questioned” as even the single judge had concluded that there was only a general threat perception regarding them.
The court rejected as “not sustainable” Payal’s plea that she and her sons were being discriminated against as some other persons — K P S Gill and Subramanian Swamy — have been given government accommodation on the basis of their security status. MHA had opposed her plea for government accommodation on the ground of security threat and said it is for Delhi Police to ensure safety for her stay in New Delhi.
In their plea, Payal and her sons have claimed that they were living in a rented flat which is not appropriate on security ground as they have to house around 90 security personnel. Payal had 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 a 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 in New Delhi. 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”. Prior to the high court’s August 19 decision, a trial court in New Delhi had on August 16, 2016 asked her to move out of the house.