Attacks On Professionals : J&K HC Gives MHA ‘Last Opportunity’

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J&K High Court – File Pic

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has given “last opportunity” to Ministry of Home Affairs to submit a report regarding the details about the attacks on professionals including media persons, bankers, advocates, chartered accountants.

The details sought also include whether these professionals are seeking enactment of a separate legislation like healthcare workers.

Hearing a batch of Public Interest Litigations including one on its own motion, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal said that the court will compelled to take “strict view” in the matter if the report was not filed by June 25.

The directions followed submissions by Assistant Solicitor General of India Vishal Sharma that despite intimation, he has not received any response from the Ministry.

“We give him one last opportunity to file his response in terms of our previous orders failing which we will be compelled to take strict view in the matter,” the court said.

The court had May 20 sought the report after ASGI Vishal Sharma submitted that MHA does not support the draft Legislation by Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, titled “Health Service Personnel and Clinical Establishments (Prohibition of violence and damage to property) Act, 2019” to address the issue of assault on health care service personnel and clinical establishments.

Among the main reasons, he had said, enacting a separate legislation for prohibiting violence against doctors and other health care professional would give rise to similar demands from other categories of professionals like media persons, advocates, bankers, charted accountants, etc.

“The State is duty bound to protect life and property of all its citizens including professionals like media persons, doctors, engineers, advocates, bankers, etc,” he had said.

After his submissions, the division bench had said that it would be useful to have report from the Government of India regarding receipt of complaints from any category of professionals, other than the health care service personnel, including media persons, Bankers, Advocates, Chartered Accountants, etc. making a grievance that they were suffering violence and seeking enactment of legislation on the same. “A report in this regard shall be filed by Vishal Sharma, ASGI before us,” the court had added.

The court also asked administration in Ladakh to submit a fresh report regarding need for a separate legislation in the newly carved out UT.  The directions followed perusal of a report submitted by ASGI T. M. Shamshi on behalf of the administration.

“We find that all that is mentioned regarding the issue under consideration is that there has been no instance of violence against healthcare professionals or property. In our present consideration, we have not asked for this report but were concerned with the need for legislation on the subject,” the court said and asked the ASGI to file a report on the issue “which is under the consideration.”

Meanwhile, the court has directed BSNL to examine status of those locations in J&K which are without any kind of connectivity.

The direction followed submission by Shahzad Azim, Registrar (IT) HC who drew court’s attention to his report wherein he has listed certain inaccessible areas of Jammu and Kashmir which are without any kind of connectivity. “The BSNL shall examine the status of these locations and place on record the manner in which connectivity can be provided to the residents of these areas,” the court said, adding, “Connectivity could be by way of internet facility or telephone facility. In case there is any other mode which can be utilised for ensuring and improving the accessibilities of these areas, the BSNL shall detail it in its report.”

In this regard, the court said that a report on this aspect shall be positively filed before the next date of hearing. While issue pertaining report from MHA has been listed on June 25, the issue regarding the connectivity would be considered by the court on June 16. (GNS)

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