Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Saturday stopped the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) from taking “any further step” on a government order banning lavish weddings and restricting the number of guests to them.
The court observed that the order passed by the government is for the public good and directed the SHRC to not proceed further with its intervention in the matter.
“No further steps are to be taken by the State Human Rights Commission with regard to the subject matter of the present petition,” a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice MK Hanjura ordered while hearing a petition filed by the state government against the SHRC’s cancellation of the government order.
The High Court also issued notice to the SHRC and listed the case for further hearing on September 18.
Further, the state government has sought directions from the court to quash proceedings pending before the SHRC. The government contended that the order was issued for social good but the SHRC took suo motu cognizance of it and declared the order illegal, despite being informed that the matter was pending before the High Court’s Jammu bench.
In June this year, while hearing a suo motu case titled ‘Imposition of restriction on injudicious use of essential commodities in social, government and private functions’, SHRC chairman Justice (Retd) Bilal Nazki had said: “The Government has merely stated provisions of the law with respect to implementation but does not refer to its order, the source of power under which such order has been passed.”
“In light of above, the Commission feels that the order is illegal. Any order passed without authority of law by a public servant in my view would amount to violation of human rights,” he said.
The SHRC chairman also recommended that the authorities not take any action over violation of the order.
The government’s order (37-FCS & CA of 2017) was issued on February 20. It restricted the number of dishes to be served at weddings to seven, besides putting a cap on the number of guests that can be invited.
Later, the Secretary Consumer Affairs asked deputy commissioners of all districts to implement the restrictions strictly from April 1.
The order had placed a complete ban on sending dry fruits or packets of sweets etc along with invitation cards through any person to relatives, friends, guests and invitees.
It had also imposed a ban on the use of amplifiers, loud speakers and fire crackers in any government or private social function.
The number of guests to be invited for the marriage of a daughter (baraat), the marriage of a son, and for small functions like the engagement of son or daughter was restricted to a maximum of 500, 400 and 100, respectively.
Non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes were restricted to a maximum of seven each and sweets or fruits to two stalls.
The government had ordered that there should be no wastage of any sort of food item uncooked or cooked, and that the surplus food should be provided to deserving people/old age homes etc after the same had been properly preserved/packaged.