ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Double Standards of 'Justice'

On 15 July 2012, the Supreme Court took suo motu cognisance of the deaths of 67 Amarnath pilgrims over the first 17 days of the Amarnath Yatra. Referring to the clear disregard for human life, the Supreme Court cited the constitutional right to life (Article 21) and freedom of movement [Article 19(1)(d)] in India and issued notices to the central government, Government of Jammu & Kashmir and the head of the Amarnath Shrine Board. Subsequently, a high-powered committee was constituted to investigate the reasons behind the deaths.

This proactive approach of the Supreme Court when contrasted with its past record in Jammu & Kashmir related human rights matters raises serious questions on the manner in which human rights violations in Jammu & Kashmir from 1989 to date are viewed in New Delhi. The nearly 8,000 persons subject to enforced disappearances, 70,000 persons killed during the conflict, at least 120 persons killed in the 2010 protests, disclosures of 6,217 unmarked graves largely authenticated by the Government of Jammu & Kashmir through the Right to Information process and the State Human Rights Commission, rape, widespread torture and numerous other human rights violations should surely have merited similar proactive action from the Supreme Court. On the contrary, cases that have been litigated before the Supreme Court, from the Masooda Parveen case to the recent Pathribal fake encounter case, have been dealt with in disappointing and problematic ways.

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