The Supreme Court on Wednesday said an order on whether pump action guns can be used against protestors in Jammu and Kashmir was likely to be passed by January 18 next year. The court was hearing arguments by the state’s High Court Bar Association, which had filed a public interest litigation seeking a ban on the use of pellets, according to ANI.

The bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said it was shocked by an affidavit filed by the association. The affidavit questioned the state’s accession to India and claimed that rigged elections and killings by security forces were the reasons behind the street violence in the Kashmir Valley.

The Centre urged the court to dismiss the association’s plea and said it was not maintainable. The next hearing in the case is on January 18.

During an earlier hearing in April, the Centre had told the court that it used pump action guns against protestors in Jammu and Kashmir as a last resort and was now developing rubber-based shots to deal with stone-pelters in the Valley.

The apex court had then expressed its concern over the injuries suffered by hundreds, several of them minors, during the protests that followed the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July 2016. The Indian Army has faced severe criticism for injuring hundreds of people with the non-lethal pump action guns during the protests.