Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court Thursday granted four more weeks to the state government for filing status report about the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the 2010 killings in the Kashmir Valley.
As soon as the hearing in the PIL, filed in the aftermath of the 2010 killings, started before a division bench of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar, Advocate General M I Qadri along with Additional Advocate General R A Khan sought four weeks time to file the status report.
At the same time, Assistant Solicitor General S A Makroo, representing government of India, also sought time to file the compliance report regarding ex-gratia relief.
Allowing the submissions, the division bench also asked the amicus curie in the case to file the response to the status report.
On last of hearing on April 22, the court had observed that direction regarding the Commission of Inquiry, ordered on June 6, 2013 by it, has not been complied with.
The division bench had asked state government to explain why the CoI was restricted to only 17 killings—out of more than 120 deaths of unarmed protesters and bystanders at the hands of police and paramilitary CRPF—and why other cases were left out from the purview of the Commission.
“If the state government decides to revive the Commission then this question also requires to be answered,” the court had said.
Subsequently in July last year, DGP Ashok Prasad filed a compliance report stating that the CoI stands expired and “no useful purpose would be served by constituting it afresh.”
The top cop of the state had also submitted that the government had earlier ordered a CoI vide notification (SRO no. 255) on June 26, 2010 and subsequently vide notification (SRO no. 283) on July 29, 2010 the government constituted a new commission to probe the killings.
“The Commission appointed (vide notification SRO-283) had a life span of three months from the date of issuance of the notification, which expired on October 29, 2010,” the DGP had said in the status report.
“The tenure of the (CoI) has not been extended till date (July 2013) and hence the (CoI) stands expired, and under the existing laws, it was not found feasible to restore this already constituted Commission to start working from the stage of work left over earlier,” Prasad had said.
Consequently, he had said that the government initiated the process for ordering a denovo Commission under the Commission of Inquiries Act 1962.
Earlier, the government had informed the court that CoI has come to a halt as Justice (retired) Syed Bashir-ud-Din demitted office of chairman SHRC on June 24, 2011 while Justice (retired) YP Nagrota tendered resignation as member of the Commission with effect from August 21, 2011 “expressing inability to continue its member because of his assuming office as chairman of State Accountability Commission.”
Meanwhile, regarding ex-gratia relief to those killed during the 2010 unrest, the court in the last order had observed that so far Rs 5 lakh each has been granted in 102 death cases.
“Ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh each has been paid to them (102) whereas regarding remaining 15 cases, decision as yet has not been taken. Those 15 cases also pertain to 2010,” the bench had said. “Irrespective of the time limit, as has been assumed to be (June 11 to October 2, 2010), the respondents shall accord consideration to the grant of ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh in accordance with norms in favour of the 15 cases,” the court had added, directing the Government of India compliance report by next date of hearing in the PIL.