The Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory administration has initiated the process of shifting annual Darbar from winter to summer capital ignoring the suggestions made by the High Court regarding discontinuance of this costly process. The UT has to spend more than Rs 200 crore for this shifting process which can be avoided.
In May 2020, a bench of the then Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal of JK High Court cited various reasons why the practice of shifting of civil secretariat and other government offices between the two capitals of erstwhile state should stop. The HC question the government that how could they afford the annual expenditure of at least Rs 200 crores to continue an exercise when the financial condition of UT is weak. This process of shifting government offices originated in 1872.
Mohammad Aslam, Deputy Director Estates Kashmir, said that according to a recent notification the government has requested requisition from the officials, employees to provide accommodation in order to move employees in Srinagar for summer session. He said that even though the administration is yet to take a final decision, still they have been instructed to look for accommodation for all the employees and officials.
An employee of Civil Secretariat said that with new administration, there were speculations that it will discontinue the practice of Durbar move, which involves huge expenditure and would make some new arrangements. However, with the recent developments, it is amply clear that there would be no change in the status quo.
Even the Omar Abdullah led government had raised questions over the pointlessness of Durbar move. When UT administration issued an order on April 17 postponing the formal opening of darbar in Srinagar from May 4 to June 15, back then it had raised apprehensions about the discontinuance of ages-old practice.