Srinagar: The High Court of J&K and Ladakh on Saturday ordered the reopening of the infamous Nadimarg massacre case in which 24 Kashmiri Pandits were killed on March 23, 2003.
Allowing a revision petition filed by the government against the 2011 order by the trial court in Shopian, a bench of Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul directed examination of the witnesses on commission.
“In view of the well settled legal position laid down by the Supreme Court, I am of the view that the court below has dismissed the application of the prosecution-state for examining the witness on commission on the irrelevant consideration while overlooking the material and relevant aspects of the case,” the court said.
“This revision petition is allowed and order dated 09.02.2011, passed by the court below is set-aside, and the application for issuance of commission for examination of witnesses moved by the prosecution-state/petitioner is allowed,” the High Court said, adding, “The court below shall now take all the necessary measures for ensuring the examination of the witnesses concerned by issuing commission and/or recording their statement videoconferencing and shall ensure expeditious proceedings so as to conclude the matter at the earliest.”
According to the prosecution, the witnesses had migrated out of Kashmir and they were reluctant to depose before the trial court at Shopian in view of the threat perception.
On August 25 this year, the high court had recalled its 21 December 2011 order by virtue of which it had upheld the 9 February 2011 order by Principal Sessions Judge Shopian.
The then State government had also filed a petition in 2011 before the High Court under 561-A, seeking its directions under inherent powers for fresh trial of the case or in the alternative transfer of the case to any court of competent jurisdiction at Jammu so that statements of all the migrated witnesses available in the winter capital can be recorded without any fear. However, this petition was dismissed by the court.
The police have filed challan against seven accused persons initially before the Court of Principal Sessions Judge Pulwama in connection with FIR No. 24/2003 for offences under Sections 302, 450, 395, 307, 120-B, 326, 427 RPC, 7/27 Arms Act and Section 30 of Police Act. It was later transferred to the Court of Principal Sessions Judge, Shopian, upon the creation of the Court.