Also turns down plea for human rights commission in J&K
Srinagar: The J&K High Court has dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) related to the Shopian fake encounter, on the grounds that a plea by the victims’ families was already pending before the court for ‘consideration’.
The court pointed out that the claim made in the PIL was with reference to a specific incident for which the petitioner had not been authorised by the aggrieved party to raise a dispute.
“Further, once the parents of the deceased approach this court by filing a writ petition, they can always raise whatever grievance they have. In such a situation, a public interest petition filed by a third party cannot and should not be entertained as it has no locus or cause of action to raise that dispute,” the court said while disposing of the plea.
The petitioner, Sandeep Mawa, Chairman of the Reconciliation Front and a Kashmiri Pandit, had filed the PIL through his counsel Salih Pirzada seeking investigation through a Special Investigation Team, monitored by the judiciary, into the killing of three labourers, namely, Ibrar Ahmad (16), Mohammed Ibrar (21) and Imtiaz Ahmad (26), all residents of district Rajouri.
The three of them were killed in an encounter in Shopian on 18 July, 2020, which the Army later acknowledged to be an operation in which their personnel had exceeded the powers under AFSPA and had wrongly killed three innocent persons. The bodies were also exhumed and handed over to families for last rites.
Meantime, on the plea by the petitioner to establish a human rights commission for redressal of public grievances, the court said that as far as constitution of State Human Rights Commission in Union Territory of J&K was concerned, Section 21 of the J&K Human Rights Protection Act of 1993 provides only for constitution of a Human Rights Commission in States.
“After enactment of the Reorganization Act, Jammu and Kashmir ceases to be a State as now it is a Union Territory with effect from 31 October, 2019,” the court said.
Section 21(7) of the Act of 1993, which is now applicable in J&K, provides that the Central Government may, by order, confer upon the State Commission the functions relating to human rights being discharged by the Union Territories, other than the Union Territory of Delhi, for which, the powers remain with the National Human Rights Commission, the court said.
“The matter in that regard especially with reference to the provisions of Section 21(7) of the Act of 1993 needs to be examined by the Government so that proper remedies are available with the aggrieved persons, who are having any grievance regarding violation of their human rights,” the court said.