J&K judge alleges interference

In an astonishing revelation in his order, the Sessions Judge stated that he was asked not to grant bail to an accused

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A Jammu & Kashmir Sessions Judge has revealed in his order referring a bail hearing to the Chief Justice of the High Court, what exactly transpired between him and the Secretary of a High Court Judge.

In the order dated December 7, Principal Sessions Judge, Srinagar, Abdul Rashid Malik stated that he received a call from Tariq Ahmad Mota, Secretary to Justice Javed Iqbal Wani to deny bail to accused Sheikh Salman. He further referred the bail application to be heard by the Chief Justice of J&K High Court as “the matter involves the liberty of the person”. He even mentioned what was said to him over the call by Mota, “I have been directed by Hon’ble Mr Justice Iqbal Wani to convey you to make sure that no bail is granted to Sheikh Salman. If there is any Anticipatory bail pending, the direction is the same”.

This revelation not only raises some serious questions on control of the high court over lower courts, but also on the integrity of courts of law. While this may be seen by many as going against the propriety of courts by mentioning the names involved and the details of such phone call, the larger question is of independence of the judiciary, within its hierarchy.

This brings us to question who is the High Court Judge and what is his relation if any to the accused. News reports reveal that Salman was accused of attempt to murder after he assaulted a youth and hen posted a detailed account on social media about how he had “taught him a lesson”.

Justice Javed Iqbal Wani was formerly senior additional advocate-general to the state and is the son in law of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association president Mian Abdul Qayoom. Wani had opposed the release of Qayoom, a vocal separatist, who was detained under the Public Safety Act. Wani’s elevation from Bar to Bench was covered in the media mainly because he became the first Kashmiri Muslim being granted such elevation.

The Indian Express reported that the reference made by Session Judge Malik, was made on the day Chief Justice on the day Justice Gita Mittal was retiring from her post and it was referred back to the district where the accused was granted bail.

The order may be read here.


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