Submit entire Koul Commission report in sealed cover within a week: J&K High Court to government

Submit entire Koul Commission report in sealed cover within a week: J&K High Court to government
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File photo of Tufail Matoo’s father

Srinagar: The J&K High Court on Tuesday reserved its order on a petition seeking justice for civilians killed and wounded by government forces in 2010 and directed the state counsel that the entire report of the Koul Commission be brought in a sealed cover to the court within a week’s time.

Advocate Shafkat Nazir, representing the petitioner, People’s Forum, advanced his arguments before the court by stating that the Koul Commission’s recommendations had not been fully submitted before the court.

He further submitted that for the interest of the victims and their family, the recommendations of the Koul Commission need to be perused for delivery of justice.

He also called on the court to fix accountability after going through the report and restore people’s faith in the judicial system.

A division bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Sanjeev Kumar after hearing the petitioner’s counsel reserved its order but directed state counsel BA Dar to file the entire Koul Commission report.

Advocate Nazir also contended that in case the report cannot be made public, the court can at least peruse it and pass directions keeping it in mind. He submitted before the court that the commission’s recommendations have neither been made public nor implemented in full.

Advocate Nazir said that the respondents were causing loss to the state exchequer by first appointing inquiry commissions and spending crores of rupees on them, and later sitting over the recommendations without implementing them.

He vociferously argued that those killed in the unrest of 2010 were from under-privileged sections of society. He said that he leaves it to the conscience of the court to decide the matter on its merits after going through the Koul Commission’s recommendations which consist of more than 200 pages.

He said the court after perusing the report can see for itself how the state is playing with the lives of people by not fixing responsibility on those who have been indicted by the commission for lapses.

He also argued that the Koul Commission recommendations should be implemented in letter and spirit so that the recurrence of civilian killings could be averted.

Earlier, the state government had informed the court that the Koul Commission report could not be made public due to “security concerns” and “sensitivities”.

The government had told the court that it had considered several confidence-building measures, which included sanction of special ex-gratia relief of Rs 5 lakh by the Government of India, besides the state government’s Rs 1 lakh compensation for family of each person killed during the mass unrest from June 11, 2010, to September 25, 2010.

In response to this contention, Advocate Shafqat Nazir had said, “No one knows what recommendations were made by the Koul Commission. If these are not made public, it will be a violation of court directions.”

The government vide SRO no 176 dated June 20, 2014, constituted the one-man Koul Commission of Inquiry headed by Justice (Rtd) ML Koul to probe the circumstances leading to the deaths by firing in Kashmir during the 2010 mass unrest.

As per media reports, the Commission in its findings indicted the government forces for firing upon demonstrators without magisterial orders and using disproportionate force on protesters.

While the Commission has reportedly said that both the administration and the police were “inactive” and “indolent” in tackling the law and order situation, it has also recommended a CBI probe into the killing of a teenager, Tufail Matoo, and registration of a murder case against police personnel involved in “torturing” Umar Qayoom of Soura to death. Tufail’s death, on June 11, 2010, by a teargas shell led to widespread protests and triggered unrest in which more than 120 people were killed.