Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Wednesday ordered that a three-member full bench, constituted to take a decision on two “conflicting” petitions on sale of beef in the state, would be heard in its Jammu as well as Srinagar wings
“It is ordered that the full bench constituted to hear PIL No. 24/2014 filed in Jammu and OWP No.1648/2015 filed in Srinagar shall hear the case at Srinagar and Jammu Wing of the High Court following the past practice of hearing similar matters by the Judges in both the wings and passing common orders,” Registrar General, Kaneez Fatima said in an order issued here.
“Since the matter has been listed at Srinagar Wing of the High Court the first hearing will be at Srinagar Wing of the High Court (on Friday). The date of hearing at the Jammu Wing of the High Court will be decided by the full bench,” reads the order issued after Chief Justice of India HL Dattu called the state’s CJ Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar on phone last night.
“Yesterday night, I had a talk with the learned Chief Justice (of J&K High Court) and he is not expecting any problem whatsoever,” Chief Justice HL Dattu said on Wednesday while presiding over a bench which dismissed a petition seeking a direction that the full bench should hear the petitions on enforcement of a prohibition on slaughter of cow and beef sale in Jammu instead of the Srinagar bench of the High Court.
The observation of the bench came when the counsel for the petitioner—advocate Parimoksh Seth, who had filed the PIL before the Jammu bench of the High Court, said there could be a law and order problem if matters are heard and decided at Srinagar the bench.
As the bench expressed its view, Parimoksh Seth sought permission to withdraw his fresh plea and sought liberty to move the apex court again in case he felt aggrieved by any subsequent order of the High Court. The plea was allowed by the bench also comprising Justice Arun Mishra.
The full bench, comprising Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar, Ali Muhammad Magrey and Tashi Rabstan will hear petitions—one seeking the court’s directions on strict implementation of a Dogra-era law criminalising slaughter of bovine animals and the other asking for its abrogation.
The bench was constituted after the Supreme Court requested the state’s chief justice to form a three-judge bench to hear and decide both petitions together.
The apex court has passed the order while hearing a special leave petition filed by the state government, which had sought its counsel in deciding on the conflicting orders of the two High Court wings.
“It is for the Chief Justice to decide at which place the matters are to be heard,” a division bench of Chief Justice of India HL Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy had said and kept in abeyance for two months the September 8 order of the J&K High Court order at Jammu, which had directed police authorities to enforce the more than a century-old beef ban in the state in “letter and spirit”.
In the SLPs, the government had requested the SC to “ensure that there is uniformity and consistency in the judicial pronouncements and there is no scope to exploit the present situation by disrupting communal harmony, amity and peace in the state.”
“There is a realistic possibility of the HC delivering two judgments, mutually contradictory, since two separate benches are seized of the respective petitions,” the state had said.