India/Jammu & Kashmir: Court denies permission to hold seminar on ‘self-determination’

March 31, 2019

Jammu & Kashmir High Court Bar Association.

For the first time in decades, the Kashmir High Court Bar Association was not permitted to hold a seminar on ‘self-determination’.

The association, one of the largest elected bodies of Valley-based lawyers, was on Saturday not allowed to organise a seminar inside the court complex in Srinagar.

Principal District and Sessions Judge Abdul Rashid Malik, while disallowing the proposed seminar on ‘self-determination and repression in Kashmir’, in his order said the event could not be allowed inside the district court complex under law.

To mark the 23rd anniversary of Advocate Jaleel Andrabi, who was kidnapped by an Army Major on March 8, 1996, the Bar had proposed a seminar at its office located in the District Court, Moominabad, Srinagar. Jaleel, a human rights lawyer, was later killed in custody and his body was fished out from the Jhelum on March 27, 1996.

“The elected office-bearers of the Bar had inquired from Abdul Rashid Malik, Principal District and Sessions Judge, Srinagar, as to why the seminar cannot be held inside the court complex. He had no answer except that the topic chosen by the Bar was the reason for not giving it the permission. He told the association to change the topic and only then go ahead with the programme,” a Bar spokesman said in a statement in response to the cancellation of the seminar.

The Bar members, however, refused to do so and told the judge that they would postpone the seminar but won’t to change the topic, the spokesman said.

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