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1982 JK re-settlement law: SC defers hearing, CJI to fix date

Press Trust of India

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New Delhi, Jan 9: The Supreme Court on Wednesday deferred hearing on a plea challenging the validity of the sensitive Jammu and Kashmir Resettlement Act of 1982, and said the Chief Justice will fix the further date for hearing in the matter.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices L N Rao and S K Kaul perused the letter circulated by Jammu and Kashmir government seeking adjournment and asked the reason for it.

The bench deferred the hearing and said the date of further hearing will be fixed by the Chief Justice of India in chambers.

 

Jammu and Kashmir Standing counsel Shoeb Alam and advocate general D C Raina said adjournment of proceeding was sought as the state was currently under the President’s rule.

Alam said since the enactment challenged in the plea filed by Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) was a legislation of a state assembly, therefore matter should be heard when the elected government comes in place.

To this, the bench said that it cannot defer the matter for hearing indefinitely and there was always a government in place.

The state government counsel further said that the matter was sensitive and an adjournment was sought only till the time an elected government comes in power and it was not his submission that there was no government in place.

Alam suggested that matter could be heard in April.

Justice Kaul asked him whether the competent authority under the Act was ever notified and whether any applications for re-settlement had been received.

He replied in negative to both the queries.

Justice Kaul then asked senior advocate Bhim Singh, appearing for JKNPP, as to what was the hurry in hearing the matter, when the Act was never operated and moreover there was a stay on its operation from the apex court.

Singh replied that the matter has been pending since 2001 and it needs to be finally adjudicated at the earliest.

The bench then pointed out that in their opinion, the only issue that remains was whether the descendants of permanent residents, who migrated to Pakistan, could be permitted to return, especially in view of the fact that no application has been filed by the permanent residents of the state that too after more than 70 years of migration.

Permanent residents are the persons who are being given special rights and privileges under the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution.

It asked Alam and Raina to seek instructions on this aspect.

The state government had on January 7, moved the apex court seeking adjournment of the hearing on a plea saying that there is no elected government in place.

On December 13 last year, the apex court, while hearing the plea challenging the validity of the sensitive Act, had sought to know as to how many people who migrated from the state have applied for returning from Pakistan.

The top court was apprised that the Act was meant for those people who had migrated to Pakistan during the partition in 1947 and were willing to return.

The Jammu and Kashmir Resettlement Act of 1982, which was stayed by the apex court in 2001, envisages grant of permit for resettlement of Pakistani nationals who had migrated to Pakistan from Jammu and Kashmir between 1947 and 1954 after India’s partition.

The top court had on August 16, 2016 indicated that it may refer the matter to a constitution bench if it finds that some issues needed interpretation of the Constitution.


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Not holding simultaneous elections will impact voter turnout in LS polls: Experts

Firdous Hassan

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Srinagar, Mar 19: Not holding Assembly and Parliamentary polls together is likely to impact the overall voter turnout in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in the valley, claim valley based experts in politics.
This year many new parties have come to the fore and the Centre is likely to enhance its deployment of forces in Kashmir to ensure “violence free elections.”
However with spontaneous disturbance across the valley coupled with delaying of the Assembly elections by the Centre, the experts claim a major proportion of the people are likely to keep away from casting their votes.
“Parliamentary election in Kashmir usually invite low voter turnout. Had it been both Lok Sabha and General Assembly elections held together in the state the voter turnout could be expected higher. As of now, we don’t see chances of any major turn out in voting ahead especially in Kashmir,” said Prof Gul Muhammad Wani who teaches Political Science at Kashmir University.
Wani expressed doubt over the participation of newly formed parties in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.
“I am not sure if these smaller parties will field their candidates. Even if their leaders file nomination, people won’t vote for them in huge proportion compared to the two main political parties of Kashmir (NC and PDP),” Wani said.
“Many parties will use this election to mobilise people for the upcoming assembly elections,” he said.
In 2014 LS polls, 49.7 per cent voter turnout was recorded in Jammu and Kashmir. Barring Jammu, people mostly in Kashmir prefer to choose boycott over ballot as only 11.46% voter turnout was recorded in summer capital.
In 2017 by-polls, the turnout in Srinagar dipped further to only seven percent as violence and killing gripped the valley on poll day.
Prof Noor Ahmad Baba, another expert in politics, claims the parliamentary elections in Kashmir won’t be a “bigger affair” as he believes that there are less “reaction” votes from the valley.
“In other states people vote to express their dissent, which is not in case of Kashmir. Some people will vote here positively. The turnout is expected to be higher in Assembly polls ahead,” he said.
Prof Baba said the emergence of new parties too won’t woo many people to cast their vote for them.
“These new parties won’t have much impact immediately. Sajad Lone has no appeal outside Baramulla and Shah Faesal too can’t make a bigger difference. However, if NC and Congress form an alliance then some may come out to vote,” he said.

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Slow repair work halts cross-LoC trade in Uri

Traders fear losses in crores

Bisma Bhat

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Srinagar, Mar 19: The Cross-LoC trade in Uri has hugely suffered due to snail-paced repair work on the Kamaan Post Bridge, traders rued on Tuesday.
As per them, around 116 trucks are stuck at Uri road in north Kashmir while 24 others are stranded at Traders Federation Center Salamabad. The stranded trucks are carrying delicate items including fruits and vegetables which cannot be preserved for long course of time.
Aggrieved over the losses, the Cross-LoC Traders Association claimed that the delicate goods in stranded trucks have been damaged due to the delay.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, Hilal Turki, chairman, Cross-LoC Traders’ Association, said the items in the trucks have almost “perished” as around two weeks have passed since the repairing work started.
“The losses might be in crores as there are 140 trucks stranded. We have written to the Director General of Police to seek the intervention for speedy repairing of the bridge,” he said.
In a letter to government authorities, the association stated: “Our traders mostly deal with fresh items and the value of those items is in millions of rupees, here we would like to bring in your kind notice that most of the products come from all over the country and as such our loaded fresh trucks remain in transit for a week or more due to this uncomfortable situation our traders are desperately waiting for speedy repairing of Kamaan Pull so that heavy losses can be saved.”
Earlier on March 9, police communicated to the concern authorities that due to the sustained use of Kaman Aman Setu for cross-LoC trade for a long period, the bridge has suffered some damages which requires immediate repair to prevent further deportation.
“Inspection of the bridge was carried out on March 8, 2019, which indicated that the bridge needs urgent repairs and maintenance to ensure its longevity. The repair would require minimum 10-15 days,” he said.
However, around two weeks after, the repair work is still on at a very slow pace.
Riyaz Malik, SDM, Uri told The Kashmir Monitor that the resurfacing work in Kamaan Post bridge is going on. “Trade is suspended since then as work is going on and it will take 10-15 more days to allow traffic on the bridge. We have advised the traders to get the items down some where in Srinagar,” Riyaz said.
Cross-LoC trade and the bus service between India and Pakistan were suspended last month too, in backdrop of the Pulwama suicide attack in which 49 CRPF personnel were killed.

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Centre misusing NIA to target Kashmiris: Soz

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Srinagar, Mar 19: Alleging that Narendra Modi-led government at the Centre was misusing National Investigation Agency (NIA) to target Kashmiris, senior Congress leader Prof Saifuddin Soz on Tuesday said this will be useless and counter-productive.
The former union minister supported chairman of Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq who has asked NIA to question him in Srinagar as he cannot travel Delhi for security reasons.
In a statement here this afternoon, Prof Soz said, “I give credence to Mirwaiz Umar Farooq’s stand that he should be questioned anywhere in Srinagar and not asked to travel to NIA headquarters in Delhi”.

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