KL NEWS NETWORK
A Division Bench of Jammu Kashmir High Court (Jammu wing) comprising Justice Tashi Rabistan and Justice Bansi Lal Bhat stayed the operation of the earlier order passed by the single bench (Justice Hasnain Masoodi) allowing the state government to use both the Indian as well as the state flags on official buildings and vehicles.
After hearing senior advocate Sunil Sethi with Advocate Ankash Chandail the Division Bench in an appeal filed by former IGP Farooq Ahmed Khan, presently national secretary Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in a jam packed court stayed the operation of the judgment passed by single bench of Kashmir wing of State High Court.
Advocate Sunil Sethi referred various provisions of constitution of India and also the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. He also submitted that the single judge “had gone beyond the scope of the petition and findings of the writ court have wide national ramifications”. The counsel for BJP leader also argued that “only national flag is an entity particularly when the state of Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of union of India”. He also referred Article 1 of the Indian constitution and vociferously argued for staying the order passed by Justice Hasnain Masoodi.
After considering the submissions of the counsels for plaintiff, the Division Bench in the open court stayed the earlier order on hoisting of state flag alongside national flag on constitutional buildings.
Pertinently, on December 27, 2015, the court had directed the state government to hoist the state flag, along with the Indian flag-a decision contested by the BJP, which is a part of the PDP-led regime in the state.
“It connects past with present and future. Flag while reminding us of struggle made by the people and their sacrifices also makes us aware of our aspirations,” the December 27 judgment read.
However, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Nirmal Singh had questioned the use of the state flag stating that no flag could be hoisted at an equal level to the national flag and said the matter will be dealt legally.
The petitioner Farooq Khan former Inspector General of Police is a Dogri-speaking Punjabi Muslim who joined BJP during party’s political rally at Hiranagar in Kathua in March 2014 before general elections.
He was given a clean chit by CBI in 2003 for his alleged role in Pathribal fake encounter in which five civilians were put to death. Farooq Khan also led to the clearing of the Hazratbal Shrine in March 1996 in which 18 militants were killed. Khan has been also the mind behind the creation of Task Force wing of Jammu Kashmir Police. It was under Khan that Raghunath Temple, Jammu was freed from militants in 2003. He has been also awarded with the President’s medals for ‘gallantry, bravery and distinguished service.’