File Reply To PILs By May 13, HC Tells GOI, J&K Govt  

SRINAGAR — The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has granted government of India and state government time till May 13 to file reply to the Public Interest Litigations’, challenging the ban on civilian traffic for two days a week on Srinagar-Jammu highway, the lifeline of Kashmir Valley.

A division bench of Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and Tashi Rabstan granted the time after Jehangir Iqbal Ganai, Sr. Advocate, submitted that in terms of the previous order, the State Government has not filed the reply in the PILs.“Let (B A) Dar, Sr. AAG and (T M) Shamsi, ASGI ensure filing of reply in all PILs,” the court said and ordered listing of PILs for further consideration on May 13.

The court was hearing a batch of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) against the highway ban and in one of the petitions, filed by Shah Faesal,  former IAS officer-turned-politician , the government has filed the response. 

On last hearing, when the court asked the senior AAG if the government intended to adopt the reply in other PILs also, the former said responded in negative and sought time to file the same. Besides Shah Faesal, the PILs have been filed by National Conference leader Ali Muhammad Sagar, Peoples Democratic Party leader Naeem Akhter, Raja Faisal Zahoor, Shafaqat Nazir and Arif Javid Khan.

On April 22, the government issued order to announce there would be no ban on civilian traffic on Wednesdays from Baramulla to Srinagar with the completion of the elections for Baramulla and Jammu parliamentary constituency.   

 “After re-assessment of the movement requirements of the (government) forces upon successful conduct of polling in the Parliamentary Constituencies of Baramulla and Jammu on 11th of April, 2019 and Srinagar & Kathua on 18lh April 2019, it is hereby ordered that the regulation of civilian traffic between Srinagar & Baramulla, on National Highway-44, would now be limited to only one day a week, viz; Sunday,” the Home department said in partial modification of its order (No. 353-Home (ISA) of 2019) issued on April 3.

The government had from April 7 started imposing restrictions ordered on April 3 on civilian traffic twice a week—Wednesday and Sunday–on the highway, considered as lifeline and it’s the only surface link connecting Kashmir Valley with rest of the globe.  

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