Not even 1 percent habeas corpus cases decided since August: J&K Bar Associations to CJI

The Bar has written to the CJI after repeated attempts to approach the Chief Justice of J&K High Court did not elicit favorable response

J&K Bar Associations

In a letter to the Chief Justice of India, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association has expressed its various concerns and grievances which have arisen particularly out of the lockdown in the union territory due to Covid-19.

The letter written by the executive members of the Bar mentions that the members of the Bar have been involved in cases of detenus booked under Public Safety Act (PSA), have been providing assistance to persons accused under Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA)/ Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) as well as Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and have pleaded more than 30 thousand habeas corpus petitions since 1990.

The letter states that the Bar was compelled to write this letter as their previous attempts to reach out to the J&K High Court have proved to be infructuous as no concrete steps were taken by the Chief Justice.

The letter states that “After August, 5, 2019 nearly 13,000 persons from Kashmir Valley were arrested u/s 107/151 of J&K Criminal Procedure Code and after a few days or weeks hundreds were booked under the PSA and are lodged in various jails of India.” It also mentions that the President of the Bar, Mian Abdul Qayoom has been detained under PSA and remains lodged in Tihar Jail.

The Bar has been receiving several complaints from its members that the bar has been unable to redress their grievances. The Bar thus, has sought the intervention of the Chief Justice of India in the hope that appropriate orders will be passed.

The issues highlighted are as under:

Habeas Corpus petitions

The letter states that since August, 6, 2019, more than 600 habeas corpus petitions have been filed before the High Court of Union Territory of J&K at Srinagar and till date not even 1 percent of such cases have been decided by the J&K High Court. It has highlighted how even Qayoom’s petition filed in August was decided after 9 months and several such petitions filed in August and September last year are yet to be heard.

It is stated that the rules pertaining to listing of habeas corpus petitions within 14 days of being filed are not being followed. Further, Srinagar bench of Central Administration Tribunal is not functioning while it is supposed to entertain Service Writ Petitions as per Central government notification, thus both lawyers and litigants are suffering.

Obstacles due to restriction on 4G internet

The letter states that because of restrictions of operation of 4G in J&K, it is very difficult to argue the matters through virtual mode, though an option is given to the counsel to appear before the Court. It further states that only lawyers whose cases are listed are allowed in the court premises while the clerks and juniors cannot enter thus disabling lawyers to assist the courts properly.

The letter requests a meeting with the Chief Justice of India so their grievance may be addressed and appropriate orders may be passed.



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