Govt's Own Law Officer Behind Ban Order

11 September 2015
Kashmir Observer


Srinagar: The lawyer behind the controversial High Court directive of banning the sale of beef in the state is none other than the government's own law officer. Instead of defending state government's position in the court of law, the officer, in complete disregard to the oath of office he has taken, has put the PDP-BJP coalition in an awkward situation, and the controversy generated by the court order can stoke communal flames in the sensitive state of Jammu and Kashmir. Advocate Parimoksh Seth, who filed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the court of law against the consumption of beef in the state, is holding the position of Deputy Advocate General in Jammu wing of the High Court. He was appointed by the department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs in April this year. In his pleas, advocate Seth had stated that in spite of the fact that penal provisions of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC) make slaughtering or killing of bovine animals in J&K an offence punishable under section 298-A, and possession of slaughtered animal punishable under section 298-B of the RPC, the act is 'rampant in the State with the active connivance of authorities'. It was on this plea that a division bench of the J&K High Court comprising Justice Dheeraj Singh Thakur and Justice Janak Raj Kotwal passed the order with the direction to DGP to ensure that appropriate directions are issued to all SSPs-SPs-SHOs for enforcement of ban. 'Strict action shall be taken in accordance with law against those who indulge in this activity', the DB had ruled. Under Section 298A of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), any violator is liable to imprisonment of ten years and a fine. Under RPC, possession of such slaughtered animal is also an act punishable under Section 298B of the RPC. Its section 298B says possessing the flesh of such an animal is a cognisable, non-bailable offence punishable with imprisonment of one year and a fine. The RPC was enacted in 1862 by the then Dogra Maharaja of the State. Advocate Parimoksh Seth said that he was appointed as deputy advocates general in April this year and PIL for banning beef consumption in the state was filed by him in 2014. 'Since then the case never was listed for hearing till earlier this week and it has skipped from my mind. I only came to know about it in the media reports,' he said, adding that he was withdrawing his name for the appeal. 'I will withdraw my name from the PIL as I am holding a public office,' he said. Meanwhile, sources said that the law ministry through Advocate General has conveyed to advocate Parimoksh Seth that he should withdraw not only his name from the petition but even the petition too 'if he wants to keep his job of deputy advocate general in the state government'. KNS CM's, Law Minister's Silence Questioned Terming state government as party to the court order on beef, both National Conference and Congress Friday said that Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed should come clear on his stand over the issue. The two opposition parties also slammed Law Minister for his 'stoic silence' over the issue 'as it was none other than their own Deputy Advocate General who has filled the petition before court which later order ban on the consumption of beef.' State Congress chief Ghulam Ahmad Mir said that the government has completely failed people of Jammu and Kashmir and that is why the communal issues are being stoked to divert the attention of people. He said the High Court has sought status report on the trade of bovine animals a month before the actual order of banning the beef. 'Was government, particularly the law minister, sleeping all this time? Couldn't they have tried to prevent this controversy,' he said. 'Actually government is party to this controversial order as the communally charged atmosphere in the state suits both to BJP and PDP,' added Mir. KNS