Srinagar: The Kashmir High Bar Association on Tuesday “protested” the appointment of three new judges to the state’s High Court, calling it as discrimination against Kashmir. The Bar said the appointment has created “regional imbalance” among the judges of the high court.
The three new judges—Advocate SK Shukla, former District and Sessions Judge MK Hanjura, and serving District and Sessions Judge Sanjay Kumar Gupta—were administered oath of office by Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed on Monday.
Bashir Sidiq, general secretary of the lawyers’ body, said in a statement issued after a meeting here on Tuesday, “Without prejudice to the stand of the Bar Association on the issue of Kashmir, the (Bar) should place on record a strong protest against the regional imbalance created and the discrimination resorted by the BJP government in appointing three more judges to the J&K State High Court.”
“It was stated (in the meeting) that with the taking of oath by three more judges, an imbalance has been created in the High Court, as out of 12 judges only two are from Kashmir, as against five from Jammu, one from Ladakh, and four, including the Chief Justice, from outside the State,” the statement said.
The lawyers’ body said that from Jammu, which has less population than Kashmir, the number of judges is five, whereas the number of judges from Kashmir is only two. “It is clear-cut proof of regional imbalance and discrimination resorted to by the BJP government,” the Bar said.
The lawyers’ body said that recently eight Sub Judges were promoted to the post of District and Sessions Judge, of whom only one was from Kashmir and all the rest were from Jammu.
“One Kashmiri who had topped the Higher Judicial Examination two years back and was thus entitled to be appointed to the post of District and Sessions Judge, has not been so appointed because he was not cleared by the state intelligence agencies,” Sadiq said in his statement.
“The Bar cannot remain silent against the regional imbalance created by the BJP government in the State High Court and by the PDP-BJP collation government in the subordinate judiciary,” Sadiq said.
The lawyers’ body also strongly denounced the NIA raids in Kashmir, calling them “illegal, improper, immoral, unethical, mala-fide and without jurisdiction”. Their aim, the Bar said, was “to terrorize, intimidate, torture, tease, harass and humiliate the people of Kashmir and to suppress their voice in resisting the Indian occupation of Kashmir.”