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J&K govt. set to tackle 4,000 contempt petitions

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Directions issued to administrative secretaries to dispose of pending pleas urgently

The Jammu and Kashmir government has directed administrative secretaries “to vigorously pursue contempt petitions pending before the High Court” after Chief Justice Gita Mittal pointed to 4,000 such pleas pending before the Srinagar bench.

Chief Secretary B.V.R. Subrahmanyam, in an order on Thursday, said: “Explicit directions were issued to the administrative secretaries in the past one month for personal attention and time in ensuring disposal of pending contempt petitions on an urgent basis.”

The move comes after the Chief Justice on November 29 indicated, in a rare reprimand, that “it would be constrained to summon the administrative secretaries in these petitions”.

An official said the administrative secretaries, in the past three weekly meetings chaired by the Chief Secretary, had “discussed the issue extensively”.

“The law officers posted in various departments were directed to devise a mechanism for their timely disposal,” said the government spokesman.

‘Reflection of impunity’

Rights bodies in Srinagar described the Chief Justice’s reference on pending contempt petitions as “a reflection of a wilful disregard to the orders of the highest court in J&K”.

“It’s an indicator of the reasons behind the impunity, which is shown by the government towards the alleged perpetrators. In numerous cases of human rights violations, the High Court orders are not implemented and the lawyers choose to file contempt of court petitions,” said a spokesman of the J&K Coalition of Civil Society.

He said no armed forces person has been prosecuted in a civilian court in the past 28 years for reported rights violation.

“In around 4,000 cases, the government has chosen brazenly to violate the High Court orders and perhaps scuttled, through various dilatory tactics, their adjudication,” said the spokesman.

He said the Chief Justice’s observation alludes to the fact that the government has “by design made judicial processes dysfunctional”.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 4:47:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/jk-govt-set-to-tackle-4000-contempt-petitions/article25855034.ece

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