Remove security personnel around Kamaal, Khalida, Shah: HC directs Govt
J&K High Court on Tuesday directed the government to withdraw immediately the security personnel deputed in and around the residential houses of National Conference leader Mustafa Kamaal, president Awami National Conference Begum Khalida Shah and her son Muzaffar Shah.
A division bench of Justice D S Thakur and Justice Sanjeev Kumar asked the government to ensure that the liberty of the three leaders was not curtailed except in accordance with the procedure prescribed by law.
For compliance, the court asked the Commissioner Secretary Home Department to file an affidavit in this regard in its Registry within a week.
During the proceeding of the case the suggestion for withdrawal of the security cover to the three leaders had come from the court amid a conflicting version between the government and the appellants over their ‘detention.’
While senior advocate Bashir Ahmad Bashir on behalf of the three leaders argued that they were put under house arrest palpably, the stand of the government was that they were “free.”
In support of its contention the government produced two communications and one of them was addressed by SSP Srinagar to IGP Kashmir which indicated that the three were not detained. The appellants however filed affidavits in court affirming they were not free. They also produced some photographs depicting what they said a curtailment of their movement.
“Although the suggestion for surrendering their security cover has been made by the court with a view to ensure that the liberty and free movement of the appellants is not curtailed, yet it would be open to the appellants to apply for such a security cover later,” the court said.
The court observed that given the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case and in view of the allegation that it was the security staff deputed at the residence of the three that was actually preventing them from moving out of their residence, a suggestion was made whether the appellants were prepared to surrender their security.
The suggestion, the court said, was readily welcomed by Senior AAG, B A Dar, while senior advocate Bashir Ahmad Bashir and M Shafi Mir were initially reluctant. They urged that the appellants are political figures who need to be protected. The senior advocate however after some time expressed his no objection to withdrawal of the police personnel from houses of the three leaders.
The three leaders in an appeal before division bench have challenged the single judge’s order dismissing their pleas against their “house arrest.” Their plea before the single judge was against their “house arrest” since August 5 last year when Article 370 was abrogated and J&K bifurcated into two Union Territories.