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J&K High Court Bar Association Urges Srinagar Admin To Lift Election Curbs

Srinagar, 06-07-2024 : The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association has appealed to the Srinagar district administration to lift the restrictions preventing it from holding its elections. The district magistrate imposed this ban on June 25, citing the association’s lack of proper registration with the competent authority and concerns about potential breaches of peace. This decision came in the wake of the arrest of former president Mian Qayoom, who was implicated in a conspiracy to murder advocate Babar Qadri in 2020.

In a letter addressed to the Srinagar District Magistrate (deputy commissioner), the Bar Association emphasized that the actions of a few should not undermine the association’s long-standing role in serving the public and its members. The association criticized the characterization of it as illegal and unregistered despite its century-long existence. It pointed out that after Qayoom’s resignation in October 2020, an ad hoc chairman was appointed to manage its affairs and organize elections once the pandemic subsided.

However, the association stated that attempts to hold elections have been repeatedly thwarted by the district administration under the pretext of COVID-19 and public order concerns. The Bar Association argued that the use of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to prevent the elections was neither justified nor constitutional, as it infringes on their fundamental right to form associations under Article 19 (1) (c) of the Constitution.

Representing nearly 3,000 lawyers, the association insisted that the restrictions be lifted, allowing it to conduct elections without interference. It also expressed its readiness to cooperate with authorities to maintain law and order.