A division bench of the Supreme Court headed by chief justice P Sathasivam and comprising JJ Ranjana, Prakash Desai and Ranjan Gogoi has directed the chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir to file a fresh affidavit to explain the issues raised by the petitioner in the Kishtwar riots case on August 9.
Bhim Singh, senior advocate, appearing for the J&K National Panthers Party raised a serious objection on defining the citizens of India residing in J&K as 'state subjects' and serving personnel from outside the state as 'non-state subjects'.
The chief secretary, in his affidavit, has cited an order of the J&K government dated July 10, 1990. In this order, the state government has sanctioned Rs. 5 lakh for the killed paramilitary personnel if they are 'state subject' whereas in the same order the government has laid the rules that Rs. 2 lakh will be given to 'non-state subjects' killed by terrorists.
Bhim Singh submitted in the court that he (Bhim Singh) is not a 'state subject', but a citizen of India and so are all citizens of J&K.
He said the government of J&K has questioned the state-Centre relations and even committed contempt of the constitution by describing the permanent residents of J&K as 'state subjects'.
Besides, he submitted that this was a dire discrimination with the citizens of India. He strongly appealed to the court to take a serious note of this apathy on the part of the J&K government, which is a product of constitution of India.
Singh also questioned the appointment of a SIT (special investigation team) headed by a local SP (superintendent of police) in Kishtwar. He submitted before the court that several high-ups and ministers are involved in the rioting on August 9.
How a junior officer can question the sitting ministers and his senior officers who have been named by the public as the abettors to the riots, he asked.
Bhim Singh argued that the investigation of the case should be handed over to the CBI or a senior police official of the rank of additional DG of police.
When lawyers of the J&K government failed to answer these questions, the Supreme Court directed the chief secretary to file a fresh affidavit within two weeks to explain the objections that have been raised.
The Supreme Court also told Bhim Singh that presiding officer, as appointed by the J&K government shall also look after the loss of property during the riots in Kishtwar.
The Panthers Party in its rejoinder has deposed that 107 people/families have lost their property worth crores. Bhim Singh has also filed a list of 92 police constables and head constables who have been indiscriminately transferred or thrown out of Kishtwar district without any inquiry or the reason or explanation.
The case will come for hearing on September 9.