SC dismisses PIL seeking freezing of funds to Kashmir ‘separatists’

The Supreme Court also pulled up the lawyer, who moved the PIL, for calling Hurriyat Conference leaders ‘separatists’, saying it was a matter of perception


The Supreme Court said any security cover given by the government to a citizen who faces a threat, is completely within the domain of the executive. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint
The Supreme Court said any security cover given by the government to a citizen who faces a threat, is completely within the domain of the executive. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking to declare as “unconstitutional and illegal” the alleged release of government funds to Jammu and Kashmir-based “separatists”.

The Supreme Court said the issue was within the exclusive domain of the central government.

The court also pulled up the lawyer, who had moved the PIL, for calling Hurriyat Conference leaders “separatists”, saying it was a matter of perception.

“We are of the considered opinion that the grant of funds to the state of Jammu and Kashmir for the purposes of security or otherwise is within the exclusive domain of the central government. In a matter like this, we are of the considered opinion that a public interest litigation does not deserve to be entertained and, therefore, we are not inclined to interfere,” a bench headed by justice Dipak Misra said.

“That apart, needless to emphasize, it is not a judicially manageable proceeding and the court should refrain from entering into the said area. The writ petition is accordingly dismissed,” the bench, also comprising justice U.U. Lalit, said.

It expressed reservation on petitioner and lawyer M.L. Sharma calling Hurriyat Conference leaders as “separatists”. “It’s a matter of perception. Has the government declared them separatists? The conduct of a man may not be to the liking of others and they call him separatist, but you can’t use that term in court,” the bench said.

It expressed further displeasure when Sharma said “politicians are promoting terrorism”.

“You cannot use such words in court. You cannot brand everyone like this unless someone is convicted. You can’t just generalize everyone. This language cannot be used in court,” the bench said while warning the advocate.

The PIL claimed that more than Rs.300 crore was spent on separatists on their stay at hotels, security and other expenses by the government. Sharma said the issue was a “big threat to the society” and only the judiciary could protect the country.

To this, the apex court said the judiciary cannot examine what funds are given to whom when it comes to managing the situation in a state like Jammu and Kashmir. “Judiciary can only protect the constitutional provisions and values. Army and police are there to protect from any kind of threat. It should be left to the executive to decide what is best for the country,” the bench said.

When the petitioner pointed to the security cover given Hurriyat leaders at the exchequer’s expense, the bench said any security cover given by the government to a citizen who faces a threat, is completely within the domain of the executive.

“Everyone must understand. In issues like this, courts have a nominal role. Who shall be provided security and what security or not is the power of the executive. National security is the job of the centre and the army. They will do whatever is best for the country,” the court said.

The bench reminded the advocate that the concept of a PIL was not conceived for these purposes. It was done to deal with issues such as environment, encroachment and with the passage of time, it also included issues such as corruption.

Sharma also sought a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the alleged disbursement of government funds to Hurriyat leaders.

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