SC defers hearing on ban of pellet guns

The Supreme Court today deferred the hearing on a plea that sought ban on the use of pellet guns that have left many blinded in Kashmir.

The Apex Court held that the case will be heard after the summer break in the case that was filed by Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association against use of pellet guns. The Court while hearing the petition ordered that it would be proper to hear the matter after the vacation as the time could be utilised by the lawyers’ body to come out with a workable solution.

“We were thinking unless you have a solution, we will wait for some time. May be, you will help us in a better way after the summer vacations, which can be utilized for coming out with suggestions,” a bench comprising Chief Justice JS Khehar and Justices PC Ghose and DY Chandrachud said.

During the last hearing on 28 April, the government had ruled out talks with separatist leaders here or those raising the issues of “accession or Azadi” in Kashmir, telling the top court that a dialogue to restore normalcy was possible only with the recognized stakeholders.

The Apex Court had asked the lawyers’ body to come up with suggestions to resolve the crisis of stone-pelting and violent street protests here. It had told the HCBA, which had sought a ban on the use of pellet guns to quell the agitating mobs, to take the “first step” to bring all stakeholders on the table for workable suggestions to overcome the crisis.

The Court had also said that there was a need for joint effort to resolve the crisis. The apex court was hearing the appeal of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association against the High Court order seeking a stay on the use of pellet guns after  a large number of people had been killed or injured due to their use.

Earlier, the Centre had told the court it was exploring a crowd control option of rubber bullets which are not  as lethal as pellet guns, that are being used as a last resort to quell the violence.  The Jammu and Kashmir High Court had on 22 September rejected the plea seeking a ban on use of pellet guns on the ground that the Centre had already constituted a Committee of Experts through its memorandum of 26, July 2016 for exploring alternatives to pellet guns.

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