Kunanposhpora: High Court says ‘not inclined to entertain PIL at this stage’

D A RASHID

Srinagar, May 14: The J&K High Court Tuesday said that on account of pendency of statutory process for implementation of recommendations made by State Human Rights Commission and also pendency of the proceedings before the Kupwara  Magistrate, it is not inclined to entertain the Public Interest Litigation on mass rape incident at Kunanposhpora village  at this stage.
 A division bench comprising Chief Justice MM Kumar and Justice Ali Muhammad Magrey had earlier reserved the decision on the PIL by a Civil Society Group seeking re-investigation into the incident at Kunanposhpora village in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district in 1991. The court announced the Judgment today.
 “We trust and hope that the recommendations made by the SHRC are seriously debated and a decision is taken by the High Level Committee expeditiously and preferably within four weeks from today and the Magistrate would also do well by deciding the issue pending before him expeditiously,” the division bench said.
 The Court said a high level committee is seized of the matter to take decision on the SHRC recommendations on compensation to the victims. In the wake of the directions passed, the division bench closed the Public Interest Litigation leaving it open to the petitioners to approach the High Court as and when any final decision in the matter is taken.
 “We wish to clarify that in the present order, we have not decided about the locus-standi of the petitioners nor the objections concerning the maintainability of the PIL,” the court said.
 The petitioners’ counsel, Parvez Imroz, had argued that the contents of an SHRC decision cannot be ignored, saying it “substantiates a pre-existing position on the occurrence of a mass rape and lack of fair investigations.” He pleaded that the mass rape case has “never been fairly investigated.”
 Defending the state, Advocate General, MI Qadri said the PIL was not maintainable and submitted that only the SHRC under Section 19 of its Act has the authority to file the Writ Petition before the Court.
 “We have already submitted a number of witnesses and the case is fixed for hearing on May 24,” he informed the court. Kunanposhpora had witnessed one the worst incidents of mass rape during the intervening night of February 23/24 in 1991, allegedly by soldiers of 4-Rajputana Rifles of 68 Brigade.
 On October 19, 2011, a division bench of SHRC asked the government to constitute a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for re-opening the case and had also recommended to prosecute the then Director Prosecution who had sought closure of the case on the grounds that the perpetrators were untraced.

Lastupdate on : Tue, 14 May 2013 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 14 May 2013 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 15 May 2013 00:00:00 IST




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