The representation was submitted by the bar association, which has as many as 1,500 members, on June 25 apprising the apex court of various problems they are facing in the union territory since the abrogation of Article 370 last year on August 5.

Srinagar: A majority of over 600 habeas corpus petitions filed before the J&K High Court at Srinagar since August 6 last year remain pending at the court, the J&K High Court Bar Association (HCBA) said.

In a representation submitted by HCBA to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, the lawyer’s body has mentioned that till date not even “1 per cent of the Habeas Corpus petitions have been decided by the J&K High Court,” expressing their dismay over the issue.

The representation was submitted by the bar association, which has as many as 1,500 members, on June 25 apprising the apex court of various problems they are facing in the union territory since the abrogation of Article 370 last year on August 5.

“The first problem which the lawyers who conduct these cases is that no direction has been given by Hon’ble The Chief Justice, asking the Registrar Judicial to list these HCPs before every Judge irrespective of their daily roster, so that the petitions are decided within 14 days as per the Rules formulated by the Hon’ble High Court with regard to the HCPs,” the bar association wrote in the letter.

The bar association, in the letter, added that the lawyer’s fraternity, particularly in District Srinagar, has faced hardships since March this year as the region was put under lockdown in the wake of Covid-19.

“The members of the bar association, Srinagar under these prevailing circumstances, have faced a lot of problems visà-vis their profession, livelihood and other collateral matters, which the Association had tried to project before Hon’ble The Chief Justice of Common High Court of Union Territory of J&K but failed to evoke any response,” the association added.

The bar association, which claims to have filed over 30,000 HCPs since 1990, said that “no concrete steps were taken by the Chief Justice of the High Court of Union Territory of J&K, for resolving problems” even after they met the Chief Justice.

Nearly 13,000 persons from Kashmir Valley were arrested following which hundreds were booked under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and are lodged in various jails of India, the body pointed out, while mentioning that the HCBA president Mian Abdul Qayoom, who is amongst the persons detained in August last year, continues to be lodged at the Tihar Central Jail.

The lawyer’s association also expressed their concern in the wake of limited internet access in the region which remains disrupted since August last year.

“Because of restrictions of operation of 4G in J&K, it is very difficult to argue the matters through virtual mode, though an option is given to the counsel to appear before the Court. The lawyers whose cases are listed are allowed to enter the court premises but their clerks and juniors are not allowed disabling the lawyers to assist the courts properly,” the body said.

Seeking an appointment with Chief Justice of the apex court, the association has urged to pass orders in light of the grievances faced by the lawyer’s fraternity in Kashmir.

Anees Zargar

Courtesy NewsClick