The Jammu & Kashmir High Court Bar Association was on Monday served three notices seeking clarification on its position on terming Kashmir a disputed territory, prohibiting it from holding elections and imposing prohibitory orders in the premises of the district court complex, reported PTI.
Srinagar District Magistrate Shahid Iqbal Choudhury issued the notices to the president of the body, asking them to explain the constitution of the Bar.
The Association’s constitution states that its objective “is to find ways and means, take steps for resolving the issues concerning the public at large, including the larger issue of peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute”, according to The Hindu.
In the notice, Choudhary sought an explanation pointing out that “its [the stand] not in consonance with the Constitution of India, whereby J&K is an integral part of the country and not a dispute”, according to the newspaper.
The Bar has also been asked to submit a certificate issued by a competent authority, its Article of Association, its registered office, executive body and validity of registration among other details.
The notice stated that the district magistrate had also received representation from advocates of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court wherein serious allegations were levelled and concerns raised regarding the election process and its motive.
Significantly, the Bar was preparing to hold its elections from November 10, after they were deferred in October. Confirming the notice, Mudasir Gulzar Vakil, Secretary of the Election Commission of the body, told The Hindu that it was served just a day ahead of the polls. “We were planning to hold the polls from November 10 in a phased manner, where just 30 to 50 lawyers would have voted in a staggered fashion and as per the COVID-19 protocols,” he said.
The district magistrate also imposed section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code in the premises of the district court complex in Srinagar.