Rashid Paul

HC directs govt to release pensionary benefits to incarcerated Er Rashid

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Srinagar: The High Court Tuesday directed the Union Territory (UT) administration to instantly release pensionary benefits in favor Er Sheikh Abdul Rashid, the incarcerated former Member Legislative Assembly (MLA) of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Hearing a writ petition by the wife and son of Sheikh, Justice Dhiraj Singh Thakur issued notice to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, (MHA) Government of India (GoI) and the UT administration, seeking its response within six weeks.

The bench directed “ensure that the pensionary benefits, which the petitioner claims to be entitled to, be released without any further delay”.

It further asked the respondents to complete all the procedural formalities in the petitioner’s pension case.

The “hotheaded” former lawmaker of J&K, Sheikh Abdul Rashid, is popularly known as Engineer Rashid. He was imprisoned in the aftermath of the watering down of the special status of the former state in 2019. He has served as MLA from 2009 to 2014 and from 2014 to 2018 for Langate constituency of the frontier district of Kupwara.

Er Rashid is the founder and ‘patron’ of the Jammu and Kashmir Awami Ittehad Party.

The writ petition challenging the stoppage of pensionary benefits to him said that during the course of Er Rashid’s tenure as a MLA his character antecedents and other record has remained satisfactory.

“As a corollary of his being Member of the Legislative Assembly under rule 5 of the J&K State Legislature Members Pension Rules read along with J&K State Legislature Members Pension Act, 1984 (Er Rashid) was accorded sanction for grant of his pension,” it said.

The petitioner wife and son of the MLA also said in the petition that they moved representations before MHA, GoI and the UT government, seeking release of pension. But both the agencies “avoided” the matter and did not release the pension.

Being aggrieved of this “inconsiderate attitude”, we had no option but to approach the court for appropriate directions,” the duo said.

They pleaded that withholding the pension has resulted in grave hardships to the family having no other financial source. They prayed   direction by the court for release of pensionary benefits to Er Rashid.

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