Big fat wedding: HC bars SHRC for ‘taking further steps’ 

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Srinagar—The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has barred State Human Rights Commission from taking “any further step” on a government order, banning big fat wedding in the state.  

“In the meanwhile, no further steps be taken before the J&K State Human Rights Commission, with regard to the subject matter of the present petition,” a division bench of Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice M. K. Hanjura ordered while hearing a petition filed by the state government against the SHRC’s declaration of the government order, putting an embargo on lavish spending on wedding and other social functions,  as “illegal”. The government has sought directions from the court to quash proceedings pending before the SHRC.  The high court also issued notice to SHRC and posted the case for further hearing on September 18. The government contends that order was issued for social good. It said that the SHRC had taken suo-moto cognizance and declared the order illegal despite being informed that the matter was pending before the high court’s Jammu wing.  

In June this year, SHRC chairman, Justice (Retd) Bilal Naski had said: “The Government has merely stated provisions of the law with respect to implementation but does not refer in its order, the source of power under which such order has been passed. In light of above the Commission feels that order is illegal. Any order passed without authority of law by a public servant in my view would amount to violation of human rights.” 

He was hearing a suo-moto case titled ‘Imposition of restriction on injudicious use of essential commodities in social, government and private functions’.   

The chairperson recommended authorities not to take any action for violation of the order (imposition of restriction on injudicious use of essential commodities in social, government, private functions.  

The order (37-FCS & CA of 2017) was issued by the government on February 20, restricting the number of dishes to be served to seven, besides putting a cap on the number of guests that can be invited to these gatherings. 

The order was issued by the Secretary, Consumer Affairs Department and had asked deputy commissioners of all the districts of the state to implement the restrictions strictly from April 1. 

The order had placed a complete ban on sending dry fruits, sweet packets etc with invitation cards by any person to relatives, friends, guests and invitees.

It had also imposed ban on use of amplifiers, loud speakers, fire crackers in any government or private social function, which create sound beyond human capacity of hearing.

The number of guests to be invited on marriage of daughter (Barat); marriage of son and small functions like engagement of son or daughter and other small functions were restricted to a maximum of 500, 400 and 100 respectively.

The non-vegetarian and vegetarian dishes were restricted to a maximum of seven each and two stalls of sweets or fruits.

The government had ordered that there should be no wastage of any sort of food items uncooked or cooked during such functions. “Even if there is some surplus food items (cooked), same shall not be thrown into dustbins but should be provided to deserving people/old age homes etc after properly preserving/packing the same,” it had said.

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