Srinagar: Sharing name with someone had been troublesome for a number of people, especially after the insurgency against Indian rule began in the ’90s. Examples are aplenty when people had to face attacks, some even survived bid on life, others were severely beaten up or caught up in legal tangle for sharing name with someone who happened to be popular or otherwise on either side of the spectrum.
Last month, something similar happened to a former college professor who shares his name with senior Hurriyat Conference leader and former chairman of Hurriyat Conference professor Abdul Gani Bhat.
A New Delhi-based news agency, apparently mistaking him for the Hurriyat leader, reported that Supreme Court will hear his plea raising several issues including that he was not being heard by the J&K High Court on the matters affecting him and his family.
While telling Bhat that it would hear him on his plea, the Supreme Court, as per the news agency, told him that he should refrain from making any political statements and confine himself to the pleading his two petitions he had filed before the top court.
The news was carried by a number of newspapers and news channels, prompting Bhat, who retired from a college in Srinagar in 2001, to file an application before the apex court to “draw its attention to the news reports describing him as a Hurriyat leader.”
In response to his description as the “moderate face” of the Hurriyat, Bhat filed a statement before the top Court, stating that “he is neither a Hurriyat leader, nor connected to any political party.”
“He also stated that he is a simple seeker/follower of truth, fairness, justice and human rights,” reads his statement as recorded in an order by division bench headed by Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar.
“In the above view of the matter, we consider it just and appropriate to require the (news agency) to circulate the view expressed by Bhat before this Court that he is not a Hurriyat leader and, that he is a simple seeker/follower of truth, fairness, justice and human rights,” said the division bench also comprising Justices NV Ramana and Dr Justice DY Chandrachud. It directed the news agency to do the needful within one week from today and posted the matter again for hearing on 17 February.
Meanwhile, Bhat, who appears in person, stated before the top court that he may be permitted to move an appropriate application for transfer of all his cases to some other high court, on account of “disability of Judges at Srinagar”, to hear his cases.
In 2013, the high court had imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on Bhat for using “derogatory expressions” and for “scandalizing the courts and judges.”
At the conclusion of the order, a single bench of the high court headed by Justice Virender Singh had said: “I wish that the petitioner calls it a day to his adventure and understands that appearance in person does not entitle him to malign the Judges and the Judicial Officers recklessly making aspersions on them undermining the dignity of the Courts because they have denied desired directions to him.”