Special court under UAPA overburden, security establishment too want more courts

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Srinagar: With only a solitary special court constituted to deal with cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in Jammu and Kashmir, a huge number of cases including bail applications are pending before it in nearly first two months of its constitution.

On March 1, the government issued an SRO-149 by virtue of which trial of all cases under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in Jammu and Kashmir take place in two designated courts of the state, instead of the sessions’ courts in the districts.

Invoking powers under the National Investigation Agency Act, the government designated the court of additional district and sessions judge Srinagar (TADA/POTA) and 3rd additional district and sessions judge Jammu for trying cases under the law, which deals with “militancy-related offences” and “anti-national” activities.

If sources are to be believed as of now, around 480 bail pleas are pending adjudication due to overburdening of the court. Also, 100 challans and 100 remand cases are pending disposal before the court.

While a number of families whose kin are booked under the UAPA said that they feel disappointed by the inordinate delay in disposal of the case, the security establishment in the Valley also voiced concern over the ferrying of accused from all places of the Valley to Srinagar.

“My brother’s bail application is pending from nearly three weeks,” said a man from Kulgam.

Another person whom GNS spoke to had the same story to share. “There is only one judge and it’s not humanly possible for a single person to deal with so many cases. The judge (presiding officer) is doing a wonderful job but what can he do in view of the huge pile of the cases,” said a person from Shopian district whose son has been booked under the UAPA.

A senior police officer told GNS that it takes a lot of effort in terms of security cover to ferry accused to Srinagar from far off places. The best option for the government, he said, would have been to establish more courts especially one at south Kashmir and one at north Kashmir.

Referring to NIA Act’s section 22, the officer said that it empowers the state government to constitute one or more special courts for trial of offences under any or all the enactments specified in the schedule. (GNS)

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