The state government Friday informed the High Court that the litigations challenging biweekly ban on civilian traffic on Srinagar-Jammu highway are not public interest litigations but “politically motivated litigations.”
The counsel representing State government, Additional Advocate General, B A Dar informed the court that there was absolutely no “ban” and authorities are not stopping anybody but regulating security issues concerning both citizens as well as troops.
He said that the government has order travel ban order keeping in view not only the security of troops but also security of citizens of the State. “The government is making every effort to ensure security of civilians and troops”.
Dar further said that ban on civil traffic has limited jurisdiction from 4 am to 5 pm. “The restrictions will continue till May 31”.
He said it is not permissible for the Court to ignore concerns of safety of troops but also safety of citizens of the State.
“It will be holding inappropriate for this Court to pass a stay the ban,” he said.
The government after failing to implement previous directions of the Court was again directed by division bench comprising Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Tashi Rabstan to file response to directions passed by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir and to clarify whether the directions have been implemented on ground or not.
The court directed the State counsel to clarify the position of State over the issues of providing free access to medical emergencies and commuters moving out for earning their livelihood.
During today's hearing, Advocate M I Qadri representing National Conference leader, Ali Mohammad Sagar, submitted that due to highway ban, a cancer patient, who was stopped by the forces from moving in an ambulance on highway during the movement of CRPF convoy last Wednesday, died on way to his home in Doda.
He said no access is being given to civilians thereby creating more difficulties to civilians especially to patients.
R A Jan, who is representing Raja Faisal Zahoor submitted that a commoner is at centre stage of difficulties because of the highway ban.
He said authorities need to justify the civil traffic ban, which is not less than a harassment to the people of Kashmir.
Independent counsel, Shafkat Nazir submitted that Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of Dooru, Anantnag along with other government officials, who were on way to attend a poll related meeting, were beaten by army men near Dalwach Ujroo area of Qazigund on Tuesday.
The court after hearing the parties directed State counsel BA Dar to file response by April 23 indicating the implementation of directions passed by Divisional Commissioner.
He was also directed to file response with regard to the free access given to medical emergencies and commuters.
Earlier, six petitions were moved before High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution of India read-with section 103 of the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir in public interest by IAS-officer-turned politician Shah Faesal, PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar, senior NC leader Ali Mohammad Sagar, Advocates Shafqat Nazir, Raja Faisal Zahoor, and Arif Javed.
The petitioners have prayed that the two-day ban in a week on civilian traffic on highway be quashed and government be directed to ensure that no restriction is imposed on movement of civilian traffic and common people are allowed to move freely on Srinagar-Jammu highway without any interference or interruption.
On April 3, the Governor’s administration ordered closure of highway for civil and public transport from Baramulla to Udhampur every Sunday and Wednesday to facilitate the safe passage of security convoys till May 31.