2010 Killings: Govt Gets 3 Weeks To Take Stand On Probe Panel

24 April 2014
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Ishfaq Tantry

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has given the state government three weeks to take a stand on the restoration of the commission of inquiry, formed to probe the civilian deaths in 2010. The High Court also directed the government to consider granting ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh in 15 cases, even as the government said an ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each had been paid to the next of kin in 102 cases. The directions were issued by Double Bench of the High Court comprising Justice Mohammad Yaqoob Mir and Justice Hasnain Masoodi, hearing a public interest litigation by advocate Sofi Imtiyaz, seeking investigation and registration of FIRs in 117 civilian killings allegedly by the security forces in 2010. 'The direction No. 5 of the order dated June 6, 2013, has not been complied with. Confronted with the same, Additional Advocate General RA Khan seeks three weeks for filing a compliance report,' the Bench observed in its orders made available yesterday. Following the killing of many civilians in the summer of 2010, the government had on June 26, 2010, appointed a one-man commission of inquiry, headed by Justice (retd) Bashir-ud-Din, to probe the killings. The government had later appointed Justice (retd) YP Nargotra as another member of the commission. However, they have since demitted office and the government is yet to restore the commission of inquiry by finalising the appointment of new members of the commission. On June 6, 2013, expressing displeasure with the delay in appointment of new probe panel members, the High Court had given the state government 'last and final opportunity' of four weeks to take a clear stand on the panel. The High Court had observed that in the absence of any findings by the inquiry commission, the court could not proceed in the matter. However, it has been over 10 months but the government has not taken any decision on the restoration of the commission. In July last year, the state police, in its status report to the High Court, had made it clear that it did not need to further investigate the civilian deaths in 2010 as investigation in almost all cases had been completed. The government, in its fresh reply to the court, has submitted that out of the 117 cases of civilian killings in 2010, 102 cases have been settled and ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each been paid to them while the decision to provide ex gratia in 15 cases has not been taken yet. 'The decision vis-à-vis grant of Rs 5 lakh ex gratia in the said 15 cases shall be taken and compliance report submitted by the next date,' the Bench observed in its orders made available today. The court posted the matter for further consideration on May 15. Justice delayed * The government had on June 26, 2010, appointed a one-man commission of inquiry, headed by Justice (retd) Bashir-ud-Din, to probe 117 killings. The government had later appointed Justice (retd) YP Nargotra as another member of the commission. * Since both of them have demitted office, the government is yet to restore the probe commission by finalising the appointment of new members of the commission. * The government has submitted that out of the 117 civilian killings in 2010, 102 have been settled and ex gratia of Rs 5 lakh each been paid to them while the decision to provide ex gratia in 15 cases has not been taken yet.