Use of Pellet Guns: SC to Hear Plea After Vacation


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday deferred hearing on a plea, seeking a ban on the use of pellet guns to quell agitating and stone-pelting mobs in the Kashmir valley, till after the summer break.

The apex court told the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association of Srinagar, which has filed the petition, that it would be proper to hear the matter after the vacation as the time could be utilised by the lawyers’ body to come out with a workable solution.

“We were thinking unless you have a solution, we will wait for some time. May be, you will help us in a better way after the summer vacations, which can be utilised for coming out with suggestions,” a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices P C Ghose and D Y Chandrachud said.

During the last hearing on April 28, the government had ruled out talks with separatist elements or those raising the issues of “accession or Azadi” in the Kashmir Valley, telling the top court that a dialogue to restore normalcy was possible only with the recognised stakeholders.

The apex court had asked the lawyers’ body to come up with suggestions to resolve the crisis, including the stone- pelting and violent street protests in the Kashmir Valley.

It had told the bar, which had sought a ban on the use of pellet guns to quell the agitating mobs, to take the “first step” to bring all stakeholders on the table for workable suggestions to overcome the crisis.

The court had also said that there was a need for joint effort to resolve the crisis.

The apex court was hearing the appeal of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association against the High Court order seeking a stay on the use of pellet guns as a large number of people had been killed or injured due to their use.

Earlier, the Centre had told the court it was exploring a crowd control option akin to rubber bullets but not as lethal as pellet guns which were being used as a last resort to quell the violence.

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court had on September 22 rejected the plea seeking a ban on use of pellet guns on the ground that the Centre had already constituted a Committee of Experts through its memorandum of July 26, 2016 for exploring alternatives to pellet guns.

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