JKL High Court Rundown | Week 1 of May

Jammu & Kashmir High Court Asserts Judicial Authority over Undertrial Transfers


In a recent ruling with significant implications for the prison system, the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court decreed that the power to transfer undertrial prisoners from one correctional facility to another resides exclusively with the Magistrate or Court responsible for their initial detention. This pronouncement, made in the case of Nayeem Rasool Vs UT of J&K, emphasizes the indispensability of judicial oversight in such matters, denying prison authorities the autonomy to effectuate such transfers.

The bench, presided over by Justice M A Chowdhary, deliberated upon the Prison Manual of 2022, which pertains to the superintendence and management of prisons in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, in conjunction with the Prisoners Act of 1900. It concluded that any remand or transfer of an undertrial prisoner should be subject to a judicial order, ensuring the detainee’s right to be heard. Moreover, the court emphasized that any change in the place of detention requires the explicit permission of the court under whose warrant the undertrial has been remanded into custody.

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Jammu & Kashmir High Court Recognizes Narco-Terrorism as a Grave Menace to National Security

In a separate case, Mohammad Ashraf Dar vs UT Of J&K, the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court underscored the severe threat posed to national security and the sovereignty of states by the convergence of terrorist groups and criminal syndicates engaged in drug trafficking, commonly known as narco-terrorism. The court dismissed the plea of an alleged drug trafficker detained under the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (PITNDPS) Act of 1988, thus endorsing the imperative to combat this multifaceted menace.

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High Court Affirms Interlocutory Nature of Orders under NIA Act

In yet another significant ruling, Ayaz Ahmad Vs UT of J&K, the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court clarified that orders framing charges, altering charges, or refusing to alter charges under the National Investigating Agency (NIA) Act are to be regarded as interlocutory orders. Consequently, these orders do not fall within the purview of appealable matters under Section 21 of the Act.

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Jammu & Kashmir High Court Acknowledges Shrine Board’s Efforts in Vaishno Devi Stampede Aftermath

Following the tragic stampede that occurred during the night of 2021-22, the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court expressed its contentment with the measures taken by the Vaishno Devi Shrine Board to enhance the pilgrimage experience and ensure the safety of devotees. In the case of Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed Vs UT of J&K, the court, after meticulously reviewing the records and detailed reply affidavit, commended the Shrine Board’s comprehensive approach, which included short-term, medium-term, and long-term strategies to streamline the pilgrimage. The bench further noted the Board’s initiatives through its Administration and Operations Wing, which aimed at improving management and facilitation of pilgrims.

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Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court Exempts Pre-1997 Supply of Goods for Transmission Infrastructure from Sales Tax

In a decision of far-reaching consequences, the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court ruled that the supply of goods for the establishment of transmission lines, substations, and power grids before May 15, 1997, should not be subject to sales tax. The case, M/S Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. Versus Assessing Authority Sales Tax Circle D Jammu, examined the transaction between the assessee and contractors involving the provision of goods purchased from outside the state for the aforementioned purposes. The court, after careful consideration, determined that such transactions did not qualify as “sales” under Section 2(L) of the GST Act prior to May 15, 1997. Consequently, the court concluded that no sales tax should be imposed on these transactions.

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Jammu & Kashmir High Court Mandates National Highways Act for Srinagar Ring Road Acquisition

In a significant ruling pertaining to the construction of the Srinagar Ring Road, the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court mandated that all land required for the project must be acquired in accordance with the provisions of the National Highways Act of 1956. The case, titled Land Owners of Village Suthsoo and others Vs State of J&K, clarified that although the project is considered part of the existing National Highway 1A, it is not necessary to declare it a national highway under Section 2 of the NH Act until its completion. However, the court emphasized that the Central Government is legally obligated, as per Section 3A, to initiate the land acquisition process under the NH Act.

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Jammu & Kashmir High Court Invalidates Detention Order, Criticizes Vague Grounds

In a noteworthy verdict, the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court quashed the detention order of an Imam accused of delivering speeches that allegedly aimed to incite the public against the sovereignty and integrity of the Union Territory. The case, Molvi Mohammad Amin Pala Vs UT of J&K, saw Justice M A Chowdhary highlight the detainee’s right to a specific and well-founded detention order. The court deemed the grounds for detention as vague and devoid of specific instances or incidents that would justify the preventive detention of the accused.

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Jammu & Kashmir High Court Highlights Prosecution’s Obligations in NDPS Cases

The Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court emphasized the obligations of the prosecution under Section 55 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. In the case of UT of J&K Vs Pradeep Singh (Now Dead), the court stressed the importance of securely preserving alleged contraband and promptly forwarding samples to the Forensic Science Laboratory for analysis. The court held that compliance with these obligations is essential to establish the integrity of the evidence in NDPS cases.

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Jammu & Kashmir High Court Clarifies Limits on Framing Issues in Civil Cases

In a ruling that clarifies the scope of courts’ powers, the Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh High Court addressed the limits of Order XIV Rule 5 of the Civil Procedure Code regarding the framing of issues in civil cases. The case, Farooq Ahmad Mir Vs Nisar Ahmad Wani and others, underscored that the court’s authority to amend, add, delete, or strike out issues is not absolute. Rather, it is subject to the provisions of Rule 3 of Order XIV, which restricts the framing of issues to materials encompassing allegations made in pleadings, answers to interrogatories, produced documents, and sworn statements.

Justice Javed Iqbal Wani, presiding over the bench, explained, “The power enshrined in Order 14, Rule 5, however, is controlled by the provisions of Rule 3 of Order 14, which provides that the court may frame issues from all or any of the materials comprising allegations made in the pleadings or in answers to interrogatories, documents produced by the parties, allegations made on oath by the parties or by any person present on their behalf, or statements made by the pleaders appearing for the parties, upon examination of witnesses or inspection of the documents.”

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