Srinagar: Supreme Court on Monday stayed proceedings including the directions by the J&K High Court to pay ‘compensation’ to the survivors of the 1991 Kunan-Poshpora mass rape.
This was revealed by Additional Advocate General Riyaz Ahmad Khan before a division bench of Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Ali Mohammad Magrey which is hearing a PIL seeking justice to victims of the rape of over 30 women allegedly by personnel of army’s 4 Rajputana Rifles during the night intervening February 22/23, 1991.
While the state had all along submitted that it has challenged only ‘compensation’ part of the order, Assistant Solicitor General S A Makroo produced copy of the Special Leave Petition filed by the state before the apex court, informing the bench about the entire proceeding before the High Court.
Subsequently the bench posted the case next week with the direction to Khan to produce copy of the Supreme Court order before it.
Besides ‘compensation’ to the victims, the division bench of the High Court was monitoring the investigation ordered by a judicial magistrate and subsequently upheld by Sessions Court in Kupwara.
However, a single bench of the High Court on January 15 granted the stay on the army petition, which requested the court to annul both the orders— on January 15 granted the stay on the army petition, which requested the court to annul two orders—one passed on June 18, 2013 by judicial magistrate (directing re-investigation into the case), and another passed on August 8 by sessions judge Kupwara who had upheld it.
On February 23 this year, the division bench had questioned Union of India and the army’s approach leading to the stay of investigation into the infamous mass rape.
“Why did you go to the single bench when you knew that division bench is seized of the matter,” the division bench had asked soon after it was informed about the stay orders passed by the court’s single bench.
“Have you stated in your petition before the single judge that the division bench is monitoring the investigation?” the bench said while observing the “first virtue of humanity is justice.”
“Justice cannot be defeated by adopting such tactics. Try to do justice. There is a court above us all,” the bench had said.
Regarding the ‘compensation’, the state government on August 13 last year had informed the court that it was ready to pay ‘compensation’ but took a u-turn on the issue.
The High Court had ordered payment of ‘compensation’ in tune with the recommendations by the State Human Rights Commission.
In 2007, some victims of the mass rape knocked the SHRC, and the Commission in 2012 recommended re-investigation, payment of Rs two lakh as ex-gratia to victims and action against then Director Prosecution for closing the case in 1991 as untraced.
Meanwhile, J&K Coalition of Civil Society (JKCCS), which is fighting the case, criticized the ruling alliance government led by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed for moving Supreme Court against the orders by High Court.
“The government has opposed the Kunan-Poshpora case in the Supreme Court at a time when Mufti Mohammad Sayeed is the Chief Minister. This is a very big example of how ‘pro-people and sensitive’ the present government is towards the human rights and the issues of justice of people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
JKCCS also accused the PDP-led government of “sustaining the efforts of the previous governments led by National Conference, Congress or the Governor’s rule wherein the only effort has been to inflict injustice on people and provide impunity to soldiers.”