Srinagar: The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on Tuesday declined to accept other ‘Hindus’ as Kashmiri Pandits for benefits under the package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants given effect to by the Rules of 2009 read with SRO 425 of 2017.
Justice Sanjeev Kumar while pronouncing the judgement in a plea filed by Rajeshwar Singh and others said, “I regret my inability to accept such a broad definition of “Kashmiri Pandits” which under SRO 425 of 2017 is defined.
“Under Rule 2(ca) the term “Kashmiri Pandit” means a person belonging to “Kashmiri Pandit Family” who has not migrated from Kashmir Valley after 1st of November, 1989 and is presently residing in Kashmir Valley,” the judge said.
It was recorded that there is no denying the fact that in common parlance, Kashmiri Pandit is a community of Kashmiri speaking Brahmins living in the Valley from generations and are distinctly identified by their dress, customs and traditions, etc.
The court noted that “Kashmiri Pandits”, is a separately identifiable community distinct from other Hindus residing in the Valley like Rajputs, Brahmins other than Kashmiri Pandits, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and many others.
“It is, thus, difficult to accept the contention of the petitioners, who are mostly Kshatriyas, Rajputs, Scheduled Caste non- Kashmiri Brahmins, etc, to be treated as Kashmiri Pandits and admitted to the benefits of Prime Minister’s revised package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants given effect to by the Rules of 2009 read with SRO 425 of 2017,” the court recorded.
The court also pointed out that on the same set of principles and laws, a plea filed by Sikh Community came to be dismissed earlier by this court which was seeking the same benefits under the Prime Minister’s Scheme.
The parity sought by the Sikhs residing in the Valley who had not migrated in the wake of 1990 turmoil, with the non-migrant Kashmiri Pandits for the purposes of implementation of Prime Minister’s Special Package of employment and rehabilitation has not been accepted by this Court and the classification made by SRO 425 of 2017 has been held to be valid.
“There is hardly any scope for the petitioners to raise the similar contention yet again,” Court held and said that for the foregoing reasons, there is no merit in the petition and the same shall stand dismissed along with connected application.