Muslims’ minority status in J-K: SC raps state govt

Muslims' minority status in J-K: SC raps state govt
Muslims’ minority status in J-K: SC raps state govt

“You are making fun of us,” the Supreme Court today said, pulling up the Jammu and Kashmir government for reasons put forward by it for not attending meetings convened by the centre to discuss the issue of majority Muslims getting minority benefits in the state.

“This is a disastrous affidavit. The affidavit of the Jammu and Kashmir government is making fun of us,” a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices A K Goel and D Y Chandrachud said.

Snubbed, senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the state government, said he wanted to withdraw the affidavit which was allowed.

“You (state government) are in good hands that is why you are safe. Otherwise…,” the bench said while permitting the state government to withdraw the affidavit.

The affidavit, filed through Secretary of Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, said the state government was pursuing the matter with utmost seriousness and since the issues involved required deliberation between the highest authorities at the level of the Centre and the state another meeting between the authorities was imminent.

“However, due to various reasons beyond the control of the state authorities, the Central and state governments have unfortunately not been able to convene a second meeting.

“It is submitted with utmost deference to this court that the concerned state officials and the administrative machinery have all been occupied inter-alia due to fragile law and order situation, peculiar security issues, preparation and conduct of the ongoing annual Amarnath Yatra,” it said.

The affidavit further said that the issue of dealing with the difficulties of minorities in the state of Jammu and Kashmir requires further deliberation with the Union of India so as to reach at a just, fair and equitable solution.

The apex court today granted three months time as the last opportunity to the Centre to discuss with the Jammu and Kashmir government and find a solution to a host of issues including whether over 68 per cent Muslims in the state can be regarded as minority and avail benefits under the category.

Earlier, the court had issued notices to the Centre, the state government and the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on the plea filed by Jammu-based advocate Ankur Sharma, alleging that benefits accruing to minorities were being taken away by Muslims, who were in majority in the state.

( Source – PTI )

HC asks J-K govt to clear stand on hoisting state flag

HC asks J-K govt to clear stand on hoisting state flag
HC asks J-K govt to clear stand on hoisting state flag

Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the state government to ensure that the sanctity of the state flag is maintained and preserved in letter and spirit and come out with a “clear stand” on hoisting it on official buildings and official cars.

“Respondents (are directed) to ensure that the sanctity of the state flag is maintained and the provisions of the J&K Prevention of Insult to the State Honour Act 1979 (are) acted upon in letter and spirit,” Justice Hasnain Masoodi said in an interim order yesterday.
The High Court was hearing a petition which had sought directions to all constitutional authorities to hoist state flag on all state government’s buildings and vehicles.

The court also directed the government to come up with a clear stand on withdrawal of a circular that enjoined upon state’s constitutional authorities to hoist the state flag on buildings and official cars.

“Let respondents come out with a clear and definite stand by the next hearing,” Justice Masoodi said.

The petitioner Abdul Qayoom Khan had stated that the state government, through a circular dated March 12 this year, directed authorities to maintain sanctity of the state flag at all costs but the circular was withdrawn by the government a day later.

The petitioner pleaded that the withdrawal of the circular amounts to violation of Prevention of Insult to State Honours Act and is “therefore punishable under law”.

On March 19 last year, High Court had sought government’s response on a Public Interest Litigation by Khan seeking directions to all constitutional authorities of Jammu and Kashmir to celebrate November 17 as Republic Day of the State.

Jammu and Kashmir had adopted its separate Constitution on November 17, 1956.

SC asks why no steps were taken to prevent assault on Ranjay

The Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government has asked by the Supreme Court to explain as to why no steps were taken to prevent assault on Pakistan prisoner Sanaullah Ranjay inside a Jammu jail.

The court, however, did not allow the plea that Ranjay be repatriated to Pakistan as he has not completed the jail term awarded to him.

“The respondents (the Centre and J&K government) shall explain as to why adequate steps were not taken in advance to avoid the physical assault on May 3 on prisoner Sanaullah… lodged in Kot Balwal Jail in Jammu,” a bench headed by Justice R M Lodha said, while issuing notices to the central and the state governments.

The court also sought details about the action taken against erring jail officials, besides asking the Centre and the state government to ensure that such incidents do not recur.

During the hearing, the bench, also comprising Justice Kurian Joseph, expressed its anguish over the incident inside the Jammu jail, saying, “This is a very serious matter”.

The court, however, did not allow the plea that Ranjay, who is presently undergoing treatment at a hospital in Chandigarh, be sent back to Pakistan on the ground that he has not served the complete life term awarded to him.

“On Ranjay, we have already said that he is a life convict and the question of his repatriation does not arise.”

On the issue of according the benefit of remission of sentence to Ranjay, the bench said once a decision (by the authorities) is taken, then “we may undertake the exercise of judicial review”.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Jammu and Kashmir Panthers Party Chief Bhim Singh seeking repatriation of foreign and Pakistani prisoners, including Ranjay, and those who have already spent over 15 years in detention in India.

DGP to conduct inquiry into suicide attack on CRPF camp

State Director General of Police Ashok Prasad has been asked by the Jammu and Kashmir government to conduct a detailed inquiry into the suicide attack on a CRPF camp and killing of a youth in alleged firing by security forces.

“The DGP, who is camping in Srinagar, will be making a detailed inquiry into the happenings,” an official spokesman said after a high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah late last night.

Five jawans of 73 battalion CRPF were killed and 10 other persons including four civilians were injured in a suicide attack by two militants on their camp in Bemina area of the city.

The two assailants were shot dead in retaliatory action by the security forces.

A man was shot dead allegedly by a unit of the 73 battalion of CRPF at Zoonimar yesterday when they were attacked with stones by some youth while returning from a hospital.

The spokesman said the state government has strongly condemned the terrorist attack at Bemina.

“The Chief Minister in the Unified headquarters meeting last evening condoled the death of CRPF jawans and conveyed the sympathies of the govt to the DGP CRPF,” he said.

The spokesman said the government has also taken note of the incident at Zoonimar in which a civilian, Altaf Ahmad Wani – who was a worker of ruling National Conference – died.

The chief minister said that violence has no place in a civilised society and advised all the agencies to exercise maximum restraint in dealing with the current situation.

Curfew has been imposed in Srinagar district as protests broke out yesterday following Wani’s death.

J-K govt: Assures to revise Juvenile Justice Act

The Jammu and Kashmir Government has assured the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to table a revised Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act in the Assembly to look after children in need of care and protection.

The assurance was given by the Jammu and Kashmir Law Secretary to an NCPCR team that was visiting the state from June 24.

The team comprising NCPCR members Vinod Kumar Tikoo and Dr Yogesh Dube met Secretary Law and impressed upon the need for an effective juvenile law in place along with the relevant rules of the law that need to be notified at the earliest addressing the entitlements of children in need of care and protection and children in conflict with law.

 The Law Secretary was very responsive and informed that the revised Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act in consonance with the Central Act, defining a child to be one who has not completed 18 years, is likely to be tabled in the Assembly in the coming session during August-September”, a release from NCPCR said today.

 The team was also informed that the Juvenile Justice Act  Bill, relating to the setting up of SCPCR, is also being tabled in the same session as the present government had taken up the issue of protection of child rights as a priority.

“The civil society was very responsive and discussed various issues that need to be in place, including the issue of birth registration, the right to health care and educational rights which need to be stepped up”, Tikoo said.

The delegation also met Governor N N Vohra and informed about the NCPCR’s work in various other states, including the areas of civil unrest and also discussed the issue of setting up a state commission in Jammu and Kashmir.

The team visited the recently established juveniles in Observation Home at Harvan and the Bal Ashram at Nishad.

The release said the delegation also had a separate meeting with the Vice Chancellor of the University of Kashmir and the Dean and various heads of departments and discussed the possibilities of involving students in the social and audit mechanism.