New Delhi, November 21: The Supreme Court on Thursday told the Jammu and Kashmir administration that it will have to respond to each and every question raised on the restrictions imposed in the erstwhile state after the abrogation of Article 370.
A Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana told Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the administration, that petitioners challenging the restrictions have argued in detail and he will have to answer all questions.
“Mr Mehta you have to answer each and every question raised by the petitioners who have argued in detail. Your counter affidavit does not help us to come to any conclusion. Don’t give the impression that you are not giving enough attention to the case,” said the bench, comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and BR Gavai.
Mehta said most of the averments made by the petitioners on restrictions are “incorrect” and he will respond to each and every aspect when he argues in court.
The solicitor general said he has a status report with him but he has not filed it in the court as the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is changing every single day and would like to show to the court the exact status at the time of his submission.
At the outset, the top court clarified that except for one petition it does not have any detention matters pending before it.
“We are not hearing any detention matters with regard to Jammu and Kashmir. We are currently hearing two petitions filed by Anuradha Bhasin and Ghulam Nabi Azad which are on restrictions in freedom of movement, press, etc,” it said, adding that only one habeas corpus petition is pending.
It said only one habeas corpus (against detention of a business man) is pending because the petitioner had simultaneously moved before the JK High Court and the Supreme Court.
“Now they have withdrawn from the high court and hence the petition is pending here,” the bench said.
J&K govt to take call on release of political leaders, no interference from us: Shah
New Delhi, Dec 10: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said the local administration of Jammu and Kashmir will take a call on the release of detained political leaders in the valley and the Centre won’t interfere in the process.
Shah said the government has no intention to keep any leader under custody for a single day more than required.
“..it is for local administration to decide when political leaders will be released. We don’t want to keep anyone (leaders) in jail even for a day more than what is required. As and when the local administration feels the time is appropriate, they will be released. There will be no interference from our side,” Shah said.
He was responding to a question by Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury on normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir and detention of political leaders.
Taking on the Congress, Shah said, Farooq Abdullah is in custody for six months but the Congress had kept his father in custody for 11 years.
“Farooq Abdullah’s father was kept in jail for 11 years by the Congress. We don’t want to follow them and as soon as the administration decides, they will be released,” he said.
He further said all leaders should be concerned about political leaders in the valley, he is also concerned but if leaders are more worried about people of Kashmir it will send a better message.
Underlining that the situation is completely normal in the valley, Shah said, “99.5 per cent students of the eleventh class sat for exams there, but for Adhir Ranjan Ji this is not normalcy, seven lakh people availed OPD services in Srinagar, Section 144 removed from everywhere. But for Adhir Ji the only parameter for normalcy is political activity.”
Earlier Union Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy, responding to a supplementary question by Sridhar Kotagiri, said stone-pelting incidents have decreased substantially in 2019.
In 2018, 802 such incidents were reported which reduced to 544 in 2019, while only 190 stone-pelting incidents were reported since August 5, Reddy said.
All leading English, Urdu newspapers and TV channels are working in the valley, he said.
Committee to examine academic arrangement system
Srinagar, Dec 10: Government has constituted a five-member committee to examine all the aspects related to the hiring and remuneration of academic arrangements in various departments.
The committee, as per an official order, will be chaired by Financial Commissioner of Finance department with Secretary Higher Education Department as its Member Secretary, and Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education Department, and Secretaries School Education and Technical Education departments as its members.
The committee has been asked to look into all aspects of academic arrangements made in various departments from time to time.
“It shall inspect the mode of hiring teaching faculty and their duration for the academic year and what will be their source of funding,” reads the order.
Government has directed the committee to suggest a common approach to address the challenges faced by the departments on account of academic arrangements.
“The committee shall be authorized to co-opt any expert in its deliberations,” the order says.
The committee, the order says, will function under the higher education department and shall submit the report and recommendation, observed during the inspection of the department, to the government by January 10.
Each year, the government hires services of hundreds of teachers on academic arrangement basis in higher education department.
In most of the colleges in Kashmir, these teachers outnumber the permanent staff members.
Last week, Lt. Governor, GC Murmu reviewed the functioning and problems prevailing in higher education department.
Besides, the Lt. Governor asked the concerned department to frame a comprehensive recruitment policy to rationalize the recruitment process.
“The higher officials have been directed to resolve all the seniority and recruitment issues in the Higher Education Department at the earliest to remove the entire bottleneck prevailing in the department,” Murmu had directed.
Life in times of fog:Zero visibility, no flights
Srinagar, Dec 10: For the fifth straight day, dense fog and poor visibility forced the cancelation of all 27 flights at Srinagar International Airport.
With this, the total number of flights cancelled due to poor visibility has crossed 116 in the last four days.
Twenty eight flights were cancelled on Monday. On Sunday, Saturday and Friday, poor visibility at the airport led to the cancellation of 26, 24 and 11 flights, respectively.
An official at Srinagar airport said there was zero visibility at the airport on Tuesday and with the result all flight operations were suspended.
“Unfortunately, all the flights got cancelled today as well. The prevailing conditions didn’t suit the operation of flights as the visibility recorded on Tuesday was zero,” he said.
Director Airport Authority of India (AAI) Santosh Dokay told The Kashmir Monitor, visibility at the runway was less than 50 meters due to the dense fog.
“At least one kilometer visibility is required for flight operation but currently we have a visibility up to 50 meters. Even zero visibility was recorded in the morning. It could lead to accidents if a plane lands or takes-off under these conditions,” he said.
What has compounded the problem is that despite upgrading Instrumental Landing System (ILS), flight operations continue to remain hit.
“We do have an ILS, which was upgraded recently and an Approach Lighting System (ALS) was also installed. The visibility range at the runway has been improved to 1000meters from two kilometers. But the kind of fog witnessed this year hasn’t been witnessed before. It is unprecedented and persists through the day,” Dokay said.
Due to frequent cancellation of flights, scores of the passengers had to return their homes on the fourth consecutive day. “Every year we have to face the situation when flights get cancelled for weeks together. Many among us have to visit outside state for medical reasons. Every time flights don’t take off,” said Aijaz Ahmad Ganie, who had to take her mother for a checkup to New Delhi.
Meteorological Department (MeT), has forecasted dense fog till Wednesday across the valley.