Review highway ban: HC to Govt

The J&K High Court today granted one week more to the state government to file its response to petitions challenging the highway ban order.

The court observed that the government would have to defend its ban after it was pointed out by a senior lawyer that the state Home Secretary has no power to pass such an order directing restrictions on the movement of civilian traffic on the national highway for two days a week.

The directions were issued by a Division Bench, headed by Justice Ali Mohammed Magrey, in a bunch of public interest litigations (PILs) seeking the withdrawal of the two-day ban on the movement of civilian traffic on the 270-km Baramulla-Srinagar-Udhampur highway.

However, as the matter came up for hearing, senior state counsel Bashir A Dar said the government would hold a review meeting on May 6 with regard to the highway ban. The state counsel further submitted that a petition challenging the ban was also pending before the Supreme Court, which had already issued a two-week notice to the respondents for submitting the reply.

Senior counsel Riyaz A Jan said a legal point was involved in the matter, adding that the Home Secretary had no power to pass such an order.

While reluctantly granting further one week to the government to file reply to all pleas made in the bunch of petitions, the court told the state counsel that he will have to “defend” the ban order.