Rashid Paul

HC refuses to stay govt order on highway restrictions

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Arraying Union Ministries of Defense, Surface Transport and J&K government as parties, seeks counter affidavits within 10 days

Srinagar, Apr 09: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Tuesday rejected the plea seeking stay on the government order that imposed restrictions on movement of civilian traffic for Wednesdays and Sundays on the Jammu-Kashmir national highway.

The plea made by IAS officer turned politician Shah Faisal through his lawyer said that he was not satisfied with the recent government order that exempted government employees, students, tourists and medical emergency cases from the restriction order.

“A complete stay is required on the government order number 353–Home (ISA) of 2019 dated 3-4-2019 as it violates the fundamental rights of the entire population of the state and all the people of the state are adversely affected by it,” the petition pleaded.

Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan while hearing different petitions challenging the government order clubbed the petitions.

The bench observed that any order can’t be granted by the court unless legality of the government order passed on the premises of safety and security is tested on the basis of law.

The court arrayed Union Ministries of Defense, Surface Transport and J&K State government authorities as parties in the petition and sought their counter affidavits on the issue within 10 days.

Citing the order, the petitioners pleaded that it has purportedly been issued for the regulation of civilian traffic during movement of government forces on the highway.

“In essence, it bans civilian traffic on highway from Baramulla through Srinagar, Qazigund, Jawhar tunnel, Bahinal and Ramban till Udhampur, from 4am to 5pm for two days in a week—Sunday and Wednesday”.

“The highway from Baramulla through Srinagar, Qazigund, Jawhar tunnel, Banihal and Ramban till Udhampur is the only connectivity to the entire population of Kashmir and Ladakh regions with rest of the country,” the petitions read.

Seeking direction for quashment of the ban order, petitioners sought to ensure that no restriction is imposed upon movement of civilian traffic on the highway and common people are allowed to move freely.

“The order violates the right to freedom and in case the order is not quashed, the high court should declare Wednesday as holiday,” one of the petitioners pleaded.

Lawyers, medical emergencies exempted from highway restrictions

Srinagar, Apr 09: Authorities on Tuesday exempted the lawyers and medical emergencies from the restrictions on the civilian movement which will be implemented for the second time tomorrow (Wednesday) along in Kashmir-Jammu national highway.

In an order, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir said that advocates/lawyers of High Court and all the medical emergencies shall be kept beyond the restrictions.

The order reads that magistrate/facilitators/police personnel present at critical crossing points/intersections of the NH1A shall ensure that the commuters are allowed to pass the highway in a hassle-free manner.

The government has barred the civilian movement on the highway twice a week. The move has drawn severe criticism from all sections of the society.

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