Srinagar, April 11: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Saturday sought a detailed report from various government departments on how the planned ‘Darbar Move’ will impact the Union Territory’s fight against the coronavirus outbreak.

The Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal, was hearing through video conferencing and video calls a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) pertaining to the spread of the coronavirus, PTI reported.

The administration had on Friday ordered the formal opening of the Darbar Move’ and offices in summer capital Srinagar on May 4, but said employees will work on as is where is basis.

To take a considered opinion as to whether any direction can be passed to postpone the ‘Darbar Move’ till the outbreak is contained, the Bench asked secretaries of different departments to file separate reports on the impact of the exercise on the myriad aspects of governance and the fight against COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.

The direction has been issued to the Secretary, General Administration Department; Secretary, Finance Department; Secretary, Estate Department; Secretary, Transport Department; the DGP, IGP (Traffic), ADG (Security), and Registrar General High Court of J&K.

They have been asked to file separate reports detailing the impact of the Darbar Move’ on the necessary resources at this stage, on the personnel involved, financial implications, arrangements (transport, accommodation, security) involved and other matters.

The decision drew strong criticism from the National Conference leader and former chief minister Omar Abdullah.

The practice of ‘Darbar Move’, under which the government functions from Jammu during the six months of winter and in Srinagar during the summer, was started by Maharaja Gulab Singh in 1872 to escape the extreme weather conditions in the two regions.

In view of the extraordinary circumstances due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Civil Secretariat at Jammu shall continue to remain functional and the employees shall work on as is where is basis i.e. Kashmir-based staff shall work from Srinagar and Jammu-based from Jammu, the Friday order of the General Administrative department (GAD) had said.

This order regarding the bi-annual ‘durbar move’ is just mindless rubbish at worst & needless tokenism at best. So the offices can’t shift to Srinagar because of #Covid19, I get that. What I don’t get is what Srinagar secretariat will do without files or senior officers,” Abdullah had said, demanding withdrawal of the order and delay of the exercise till the threat of coronavirus is overcome.

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