Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Wednesday rejected the Kashmir Bar Association’s demand to ban use of pellet guns in the state, even as it directed the authorities to provide adequate medical treatment to the injured by specialists in or outside the state.
A division bench of Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also declined to consider the lawyers’ contentions on use of excessive force and asked aggrieved persons to approach appropriate forum to “establish and seek redressal.”
“It is manifest that so long as there is violence by unruly mobs, use of force is inevitable. What kind of force has to be used at the relevant point of time or in a given situation or place, has to be decided by the persons in-charge of the place where the attack is happening,” the court said, underlining that it cannot, without any report rendered by the competent forum or authority, decide as to whether the use of force in a particular incident was excessive or not.
“The Government of India has already constituted a Committee of Experts for exploring other alternative to Pellet Guns. Before the report is filed by the Expert Committee and a decision taken at the Government level, we are not inclined to prohibit the use of pellet guns in rare and extreme situations,” the court said.
To the Bar Association’s demand for prosecution of all the officers who ordered the use of pellet guns and those who actually fired them, the court said, “Same cannot be considered in this petition as no findings on use of excessive force, violating the guidelines issued in SOP, have been recorded by any fact-finding authority. Hence the persons alleging use of excessive force due to which death or injury has occurred, can very well approach the appropriate forum to establish the same and seek redressal.”
However, the court made it clear that the pendency of the PIL with regard to other prayers will not be a bar for the state government for paying compensation to “deserving” family members of deceased or injured persons.
The court also directed the concerned authorities to ensure that all injured persons are provided adequate medical treatment. “If specialists are not available in the state, appropriate arrangement has to be made to treat the patients by inviting specialists in the state or to shift the patients to hospitals outside the state wherever specialists are available,” the court said.
Regarding other prayers made by the lawyers’ body, the court admitted the PIL for hearing and directed the concerned authorities to file detailed counter affidavit by the end of November. “The petitioner (Bar) may file rejoinder by the end of December, 2016,” the court said and posted the matter for consideration after winter vacation.