New Delhi: Supreme Court on Friday allowed Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP) leader Bhim Singh, who has sought imposition of Governor’s rule in the troubled state, to visit Srinagar and assess the “ground reality” there.
Chief Justice T.S. Thakur, who hails from J&K, told solicitor-general Ranjit Kumar:
“Don’t detain him (Bhim Singh), if he goes to help restore law and order and peace. If he goes to foment trouble and create a law and order problem, put him behind the bars, there is no problem. Inciting people is certainly against the national interest, you should immediately put him behind bars.”
The court said the senior lawyer cannot just say that Governor’s rule under section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir is the only panacea for everything and should file a reply to the Centre’s affidavit on the ground situation in the state.
When Singh said he wanted to speak to local people and groups like Hurriyat Conference, the bench said it was a free country and anyone could talk to anyone but warned him against making political statements.
“We are not stopping you from talking to local people or Hurriyat. It is a free country and anyone can to talk to anyone but we will not give you any license or authorisation for your political angle,” the bench of Chief Justice T S Thakur said, adding that he should tell the court about the ground situation in schools, colleges and hospitals.
The bench directed solicitor general Ranjit Kumar to arrange for the visit of the activist lawyer and allow him to meet local people, divisional commissioner and deputy commissioner, so that he can assess the situation by himself and submit a report.
The bench, also comprising A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud, asked the Centre to facilitate his visit after the senior lawyer said he had been stopped 52 times from entering the state.
“No one will stop you. If anyone stops then you can come back here and tell us. Centre will arrange for your visit and you can meet the people there and you can meet divisional commissioner and deputy commissioner so that you can assess the situation,” the bench said.
Kumar said he will find out how the JKNPP leader was stopped from entering the state and assured that he will not be restricted.
Earlier, the apex court had said that the ongoing trouble in Kashmir should be “dealt with politically” as everything cannot be managed within judicial parameters.