J&K HC dismisses PIL seeking ban on pellet guns

Jammu: The Jammu & Kashmir High Court has dismissed a PIL seeking a ban on the use of pellet guns by security forces in the Union Territories J&K and Ladakh for controlling mobs and riots.

The PIL was dismissed by a division bench of J&K High Court comprising Justices Ali Muhammad Magrey and Dhiraj Singh Thakur.

In a significant relief to the security forces who have been using pellet guns to control mobs in J&K, the division bench said, “It is manifest that so long as there is violence by unruly mobs, the use of force is inevitable.”

“What kind of force has to be used at a relevant point of time or in a given situation and place has to be decided by the persons in charge of the place where the attack is happening.”

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“This court in the writ jurisdiction, without any finding rendered by a competent forum/authority, cannot decide whether the use of force in a particular incident is excessive or not.

“Having regard to the ground situation prevailing as of now, and the fact that the Ministry of Home Affairs has already constituted a committee of experts through its memorandum dated July 26, 2016, for exploring an alternative to pellet guns, before filing of the report by the expert committee and a decision taken at the government level, we are not inclined to prohibit the use of pellet guns in rare and extreme situations.”

Human rights groups had criticised the use of pellet guns to control mobs in the Valley during the public unrest in 2016 in which 98 people were killed and 4,000 others suffered vision damage.

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