AJK apex court sends Kashmiri refugees seats’ case to high court

AJK apex court sends Kashmiri refugees seats’ case to high court

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MUZAFFARABAD: The Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Supreme Court on Friday remanded an important case to the high court in which the 12 seats of AJK legislative assembly for the Pakistan based Kashmiri refugees has been challenged.

The court has been directed to conduct proceedings as required under law and decide the same after providing opportunity of hearing to the parties concerned.

The apex court bench, comprising Chief Justice Chaudhry Mohammad Ibrahim Zia and Justice Raja Saeed Akram Khan, gave this decision while setting aside a judgment of the high court in the case.

In June 2014, three senior advocates Karam Dad Khan, Raja Amjad Ali Khan and Raja Raza Ali Khan (the last one now advocate general) had filed a petition in the high court for annulment of the 12 seats, six of which are reserved for refugees from held Kashmir Valley and as many for refugees from held Jammu region.

However, the petition was dismissed in limine on March 31, 2016, on the ground that the controversy had already been resolved by the high court and, ultimately, by the apex court in another case titled Shah Ghulam Qadir vs Sardar Gul-e-Khandan and eight others.

An appeal against the high court decision was filed by Mr Karam Dad Khan and Raja Amjad Ali Khan in May 2016 but hearings on it were held in July, November and December of last year.

In its decision on the appeal, the apex court bench declared that although the writ petition was dismissed in limine through the impugned judgment, keeping in view the sensitivity and importance of the issue the parties were provided with ample opportunity to argue the same.

Even the person who was not party but possessed rich knowledge on the genesis of Kashmir issue was also invited to assist the court, the bench observed, referring to the amicus curiae Dr Syed Nazir Gillani, the London based president of Jammu Kashmir Council for Human Rights.

While noting that it would not like to pre-empt the jurisdiction of the high court by conclusively determining the propositions raised in the case, the bench held that the high court had dismissed the petition on technical grounds instead of deciding it on merits.

It appeared that the high court had confined itself only to the question of vires of the provisions of sub section ii and iii of section 2 of AJK Election Ordinance, 1970, whereas the other related propositions remained unattended, it said.

“The sole reason advanced for dismissal of petition in limine is also result of some misconception and does not appear to be just and proper course. The important and serious constitutional legal propositions raised in the case require proper appreciation and determination by the high court so that the issue can be conclusively settled once and for all,” declared the bench.

“In this context, we restrain ourselves to express our opinion relating to any of the issues raised in the light of the arguments of the parties. All these propositions are left open to be firstly attended to and resolved by the high court,” it added.__Dawn.com

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