On 29 November 2018, the Chief Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Government issued a letter to all the Administrative Secretaries of Jammu and Kashmir government, asking them for their compliance on all the Contempt of Court petitions filed in the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir. (Annexed)
Strikingly, the letter quotes the oral observations of the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir, during the hearing of a case in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on 26 November 2018, in which the Chief Justice Geeta Mital has said that there are 4000 pending Contempt of Court petitions filed before the Srinagar bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. This is a very serious observation and it implies that various departments of Jammu and Kashmir government appear to wilfully disregard the orders of the highest court in Jammu and Kashmir.
This is not a secret revelation for the people of Jammu and Kashmir, as people are already aware of the state of affairs of the judicial processes. But it is an indicator for people to understand the reasons behind the impunity, which is sustained by the government towards the alleged perpetrators. In numerous cases of human rights violations when the High Court either ordered for investigations against the armed forces involved or directs for the benefits to be provided for the survivors we have witnessed how the orders are not implemented and the lawyers choose to file Contempt of Court petitions. It is pertinent to mention, that so far in last 28 years no armed forces personnel has been prosecuted in civilian courts, for human rights violations ranging from mass rapes to enforced disappearances, or extra-judicial executions or torture etc.
Now according to this observation by the Chief Justice, it is clear that in around 4000 cases the Government has chosen brazenly to violate the High Court orders and has perhaps scuttled through various delay tactics the adjudication of these 4000 Contempt of Court cases.
This observation by Chief Justice, Geeta Mital certainly proves ‘rule of law’ is not adhered to in Jammu and Kashmir and government by itself is the violator. The observation also alludes to the fact that the government has by design made judicial processes dysfunctional, which makes it impossible for the present judicial mechanisms to deliver justice in cases where the government itself is a perpetrator and has so far scuttled all means used by victims for seeking justice.
Jammu Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society