Suggest steps to stop violent agitation, SC asks J&K HC Bar

The Supreme Court on Friday said it will ask the government not to use pellet guns in Jammu and Kashmir if there was no violence, no stone throwing and students get back to classes.

Asking leaders of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association to come forward with positive suggestions to diffuse the situation, Chief Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar, Justice DY Chandrachud, and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said in such a scenario, they would ask the government not to use pellet guns.

“If you suggest something within the framework of Constitution, we will assure you there will be a dialogue,” the Chief Justice said.

Giving time to the Bar Association to come up with suggestions, the court said: “You must first tell us what you will do. Then we will direct the government. If you keep throwing stones, how will it work?”

The apex court made it clear to the bar body that it would have to come out with suggestions after talking to all stakeholders and cannot shy away by saying that they do not represent everybody in Kashmir.

It said there was a need for a positive start and the bar body could play an important role by coming out with a game plan and a roadmap for restoring normalcy in the Valley.

The bench also made it clear to the Centre that the court would involve itself in the matter only if there was a view that it can play a role and there was no jurisdictional issue.

It also said it was aware that the situation in Kashmir Valley was not very palatable while posting the matter for further hearing on May 9.

Meanwhile, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi rubbished the claim of the J&K HC Bar Association that the Centre was not coming forward for discussion and dialogue to resolve the crisis.

Rohatgi said recently the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister of the state held a meeting to discuss the situation.

The apex court was hearing an appeal filed by Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association against the High Court order seeking a stay on the use of pellet guns as a large number of people had been killed or injured due to their use.

During the last hearing on April 10, the Centre had told the Supreme Court it was exploring a crowd control option that is akin to rubber bullets but not as lethal as pellet guns that are being used currently as a last resort to quell violence in the Valley.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court had on September 22 rejected the plea seeking a ban on the use of pellet guns on the ground that the Centre had already constituted a Committee of Experts through its memorandum of July 26, 2016, for exploring alternatives to pellet guns.


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