NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court of India, on Tuesday, gave the Jammu and Kashmir government a last opportunity to serve the respondents not served thus far, while listing the next hearing for the case on April 29, JKCCS said in a statement on Wednesday.
Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, Kunan Poshpora Village Committee and Support Group for Justice for Kunan Poshpora in a joint statement said: “In December 2014, Government of Jammu and Kashmir challenged before the Supreme Court the Jammu and Kashmir High Court order to pay compensation for the victims of Kunan Poshpora mass rape and torture. The orders passed by the state High Court in a petition filed by five survivors of Kunan Poshpora seeking investigations and justice.”
According to the statement, it has been more than a year but Government of Jammu and Kashmir is yet to serve notice on Wajahat Habibullah (then Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir), B.G. Verghese (now deceased) and K.Vikram Rao, part of the Press Council of India. Also, the nine officers of the 4 Rajputana Rifles made parties to the petition have chosen not to appear and make their submissions.
Further, Government of India (Ministry of Defence) has failed to file its response in this case and no further opportunity will be provided to do so as per the Registrar’s earlier orders of September 30, 2015.
However, on Tuesday, the Registrar gave the JK government a last opportunity to serve the respondents not served thus far, and has listed the case next for April 29, 2016.
The survivors of Kunan Poshpora have at every forum – including the Supreme Court – emphasized the urgency for fair and independent investigations. But, whether the Government of J&K, which has failed to serve all the parties, or Union of India and the army officials, that have deemed it unnecessary to even respond to the petition, the State seeks to delay proceedings and thereby shield the accused army personnel.