HC for smooth movement of people, convoy
SRINAGAR, Apr 8: The High Court today while issuing notice to the Government on the pleas seeking revocation of the Government order imposing bi-weekly restrictions on the movement of the people on National Highway (NH-44) observed that they have to ensure comfortable movement of people and security of convoy as well.
Hearing the Public Interest Litigations filed by IAS topper turned politician, Shah Faisal and the lawyers Shafkat Nazir and Suhaib Farooq Bandey, the division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan issued notice to Chief Secretary of the State, Principal Secretary to Home Department and Divisional Commissioner Kashmir.
The notice, however, has been accepted by the State counsel B A Dar (Sr. AAG) in open court on behalf of the all and court asked him to seek instructions on the issue by tomorrow.
During the proceedings of the case a Supreme Court ruling has been referred before the Court by the counsels appearing in these pleas and submitted that the Government has to take care of general public in light of the apex court’s ruling. “We have to ensure comfortable movement of people on the highway and subsequently also the security of convoy”, the DB observed.
The Government vide Order bearing No. 353-Home (ISA) of 2019 dated: 03.04.2019 whereby two days every week (Sunday and Wednesday) have been dedicated for movement of the security forces’ convoys, when there would be no civilian traffic on the NH-44, from Baramulla through Srinagar, Qazigund, Jawahar Tunnel, Banihal and Ramban till Udhampur from 4 am to 5 pm and the said order has been challenged in three separate petition before the court.
It is submitted that Principal Secretary Home Department has come up with a strange, arbitrary and illegal order dated 03.04.2019 and the said order is “illegal, arbitrary and capricious” as such needs to be quashed.
Advocate Shafkat Nazir it his petition submitted that the order is without jurisdiction as under Section 144 CrPC only an Executive Magistrate can place restrictions on the movement of people in urgent cases of apprehended danger etc.
The Principal Home Secretary, it is added, has no power or authority to pass an order placing restrictions over the movement of people as such the order in question is bad in the eyes of law and deserves to be quashed.
“There was no urgent requirement of passing such an illegal order when the security forces are already facilitating the smooth movement of convoys on the Highways by assistance of Road Opening Parties (ROPs) and establishment of hundreds of checkpoints. On this ground also the impugned order is liable to be quashed”, read the PIL.
It is also added that there is a great hue and cry among the general public against the impugned order and the people from all sections of the society cutting across their beliefs and ideologies have raised their concerns about restraining the free movement of general public on the highway in question which is one of the most vital road links of Kashmir valley.
It is submitted that the NH-44 is the only connecting road / Highway connecting North Kashmir with Central and South Kashmir and more particularly with Srinagar City. While passing the impugned order, the Home Department has not provided any viable alternate root or mode of transportation for the people like petitioner so as to mitigate their sufferings.