HC rejects Malik's plea to transfer 30-year old cases

Justice Sanjay Gupta of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday dismissed an appeal by the banned Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Muhammad Yasin Malik to transfer the trial of 30-year-old cases against him from Jammu to Srinagar.

The judgment cleared the decks for Malik’s trial in Jammu in two old cases relating to gunning down of Indian Air Force personnel and the Rubiya Sayeed kidnapping.

The Justice Gupta also vacated an order by a single bench of the High Court which had stayed trial against Malik in 1995, besides observing that the October 25, 2008 order of special TADA court of Jammu allowing Malik’s petition for shifting trial to Srinagar was not correct.

“…From bare perusal of contents of petitions and relief sought therein, one can definitely come to conclusion that petitioners (Malik) have sought transfer of their cases from designated court Jammu to additional court at Srinagar, which is not permissible under law,” Justice Gupta said in his order.

Malik is presently lodged at Tihar jail in New Delhi after being arrested by the NIA in connection with a case related to militant and separatist funding.

The two cases relate to the killing of IAF officers on 25 January, 1990 in the outskirts of Srinagar city and the kidnapping of the daughter of then Union Home Minister late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed in 1989. Two chargesheets were filed by the CBI in August and September 1990 against Malik before the designated TADA court in Jammu.

In 1995, he was granted a stay on trial by a single bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court as there was no TADA court in Srinagar.

In 2008, Malik approached the special court saying that the trial could be shifted to Srinagar as he was facing lot of problems of security in view of the Amarnath land row.

The CBI counsel Monika Kohli argued before the High Court that the agency had opposed transfer of cases to Srinagar which was rejected. She also informed the court that petitions challenging the order of TADA court were filed with the High Court but the same could not be heard so far.

During the pendency of trial in this case as well, an application was filed by the accused persons seeking transfer of the case to the designated TADA court at Srinagar. The CBI filed objections and opposed the application, which was rejected by the order dated April 20, 2009.

Highlighting the CBI objections, Kohli also informed Justice Gupta that the TADA court in Srinagar had been abolished and the designated court in Jammu was given jurisdiction throughout the state with headquarters at Jammu in May 1990.

Rejecting the argument of Malik’s counsel Zaffar Shah as “not tenable”, the court vacated the stay granted by the single bench as also the order of TADA court of 2008.