‘Darbar Move’ burdens exchequer, says J&K HC

Centre, UT urged to take a final call

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday asked the Centre and the Union Territory (UT) administration to take a final call on the continuation of the 148-year-old practice of shifting capitals annually between Srinagar and Jammu, “which burdens the exchequer”.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal, hearing a petition against the ‘Darbar Move’, observed, “There are limitations on the extent of our jurisdiction on making a declaration on the permissibility or the continuation of the ‘Darbar Move’. We defer this task to the best wisdom of those on whom the Constitution of India bestows this duty. Let the Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, and the Chief Secretary of the Union Territory of J&K examine it and take a considered decision.”

Evaluating the cost incurred by the ‘Darbar Move’ on the exchequer, the court noted: “If this practice was rationalised, the amount of money, resources and time which could be saved, could be utilised towards the development of the Union Territory, which has otherwise witnessed much turmoil.”

“The ‘Darbar Move’ results in wastage of tremendous amount of time, efforts and energy on inefficient and unnecessary activity [say, packing of records]. It is taxing for security forces too,” the court observed.

The practice was introduced in 1872 by a Dogra monarch to escape the harsh winters of the Kashmir Valley.

Regional parties advocated the continuation of the practice “to help in the emotional integration between two diverse regions” of J&K.

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