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J&K High Court Allows Man to Open Windows After 5 Years

In 2018, a civil court restrained the petitioner from opening the windows of his own house after his neighbour claimed that it violated his privacy.
Jammu high court

After a long wait of five years, a Kashmiri man restrained by a civil court from opening the windows of his house following his neighbour’s civil suit has been allowed to do so by the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court (HC).

In 2018, the civil court restrained the petitioner, Ghulam Nabi Shah, from opening the windows of his own house after his neighbour, Abdul Gani Sheikh, claimed that it violated his privacy, Bar and Bench reported.

Holding that the civil court’s order failed to reflect how and what right of the petitioner’s neighbour was being violated, HC Justice Atul Sreedharan observed in Ghulam Nabi Shah v. Abdul Gani Sheikh & Ors: Undoubtedly, the petitioner has a right of opening of windows on his property even if they are facing towards the house of the plaintiffs/respondents.”

On the claim of violation of privacy, the court said: “The contention of the respondents that it would infringe upon the privacy does not hold water as that is an issue for the defendant/respondent to take necessary steps to ensure their own privacy.”

The respondents can protect their privacy, the court observed, “by placing curtains on their windows or by raising a wall on their property which would make their house invisible from the property of the petitioner”.

In the 2018 civil suit, there were three issues before the civil court:

  1. As per the neighbour, the sloping roof of the petitioner’s then under construction house would fall toward his house and snow would come cascading down into his property.

  2. The neighbour was also aggrieved that drain pipes were positioned by the petitioner in such a manner that the water would flow on their property and weaken the soil.

  3. The third issue was that opening of windows towards the property of the neighbour would infringe upon his privacy.

Partly allowing Sheikh’s application, the civil court in an interim order permitted Shah from continuing with the construction but restrained him from opening the windows facing his neighbour’s house. 

Shah was also directed to construct the roof in such a manner that snow does not fall on Sheikh’s property and place the pipes in a way that water does not fall into neighbour’s house. 

Arguing before the HC, Shah said that there was no allegation of violation of any law due to the construction. He also submitted that the directions regarding the roof and the drain pipes were complied with. 

Despite notice, when Sheikh didn’t enter an appearance in this case, the HC proceeded ex parte in the matter.

After hearing Shah’s counsel advocate MM Iqbal, the HC recorded that the construction was carried out in accordance with the law and that the civil court’s directions regarding the roof and the drain pipes were complied with.

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