Former HC Judge Says, Access To Justice Denied in Kashmir


SRINAGAR — Former High Court Judge Justice (Retd) Hasnain Masoodi on Saturday demanded government to repeal of SROs 149 and 313, saying fundamental right of access to justice is being denied to people in every nook and corner of the Kashmir Valley.   

As per SRO-149 of 2019 and SRO-313 of 2019, the cases of the people detained under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Prevention of Terrorist Act have been ordered to be dealt with exclusively by a special court at Srinagar.

 “As a consequence, those detained in every nook and corner of the Kashmir Valley is perforce made to come to Srinagar (special court). This means that access to justice which is a fundamental right is denied to them,” Justice (retd) Masoodi, who is National Conference’s candidate from Anantnag Parliamentary seat told reporters.

 “Youth from far-flung areas like Chatergul, Larnoo or other places are made to visit the special court at Srinagar. I demand that both SRO 149 and SRO 313 of 2019 be rescinded and sessions judge in every district shall be given the power to try such cases so that youth who have been implicated or facing such charges get justice within their own district and getting justice is not delayed rather does not become impossible as is the case presently,” he said.

He said UAPA is wide-ranging Act and even uttering a word can be encompassed in its domain.

 “A case has come to my notice wherein a youth got bail after one month but instead of releasing him, he has been booked in 2017 case and he again has to go to Srinagar for the report.”

Asked whether National Conference would do away with such laws, Masoodi responded in affirmative.

 “The vice president of our party Omar Abdullah has already announced that Public Safety Act and other such acts will be repealed and only ordinary laws shall remain in force,” he said, adding, “The Constitution provides for justice and access to justice and that access is being denied.”

Justice (retd) Masoodi said that government has to be conscious about the ground realities and both these SROs should be repealed and sessions judges given powers to try such cases as was the case before March 2019. “Not only is the special court overcrowded, there is also a prolonged delay in getting justice and we will launch a struggle so that people get justice.”

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