J&K HC Bar Association urges Srinagar admin to lift election curbs

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Srinagar, Jul 6 (PTI) The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association has requested the Srinagar district administration to remove the restrictions preventing it from holding its elections.

The district magistrate banned the elections on June 25, citing the association's lack of registrations with the competent authority and concerns over potential breaches of peace.

This ban followed the arrest of former president Mian Qayoom, implicated in a conspiracy to murder advocate Babar Qadri in 2020.

In a letter to the Srinagar District Magistrate (deputy commissioner), the Bar Association highlighted that the actions of a few should not undermine the association’s long-standing role in serving the public and its members.

The association criticised the characterisation of it being illegal and unregistered, despite its century-long existence. It pointed out that after Qayoom’s resignation in October 2020, an ad hoc chairman was appointed to manage affairs and organise elections once the pandemic subsided.

However, the association stated the attempts to hold elections were thwarted by the district administration under the guise of COVID-19 and public order concerns.

The Bar Association argued that the use of Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to prevent the elections was neither justified nor constitutional, infringing on their fundamental right to form associations under Article 19 (1) (c) of the Constitution.

Representing nearly 3,000 lawyers, the association insisted that restrictions be lifted, allowing it to conduct elections without interference. It expressed readiness to cooperate with authorities to maintain law and order. PTI SSB OZ RHL RHL