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Highway ban: HC gives Govt 7 days to reply to petitions
4/24/2019 11:56:33 PM
Early Times Report

Srinagar, Apr 24: The state High Court on Wednesday granted government a week's time more to submit reply to the clubbed bunch of Public Interest Litigation against April 3 order by state's Home department banning the movement of civilian traffic for two days a week on the Srinagar-Jammu highway.
As the hearing of clubbed petitions came up for hearing before a division bench of the court, state counsel informed that the government is going to hold a review meeting on May 6 with regard to highway ban.
Senior Additional Advocate General B A Dar further submitted that a matter regarding the issue is also pending before Supreme Court and the top court has issued notice returnable in two weeks.
Senior counsel R A Jan submitted that a legal point was involved in the matter and that is: can Home secretary pass such an order by directing restrictions of civilians movement on highway? The court reluctantly granted week's time to the government to file reply to all pleas.
The court last week had sought compliance of its orders, directing authorities to ensure that no difficulty is caused to any commuter or common person who is seeking to move on the highway during any two days of ban on civilian movement during the week to reach his place of business or work.
The court had asked authorities to submit a report regarding compliance to the directions issued by the divisional commissioner Kashmir in minutes of meeting held on 09.04.2019.
On April 9, the court, after submissions by R.A. Jan, Sr. Advocate, Jahangir Iqbal Ganai, Sr. Advocate and all the other counsels present in the court, that the government need to take special care to ensure that the commuters who are common people may not face any difficulty in their movement for earning their livelihood. B A Dar, Sr. AAG had submitted that the decision taken in the serial No. 2 as noted in the Minutes of Meeting held on 09.04.2019 is intended to obviate any difficulty to such commuters.
"It shall be ensured that no difficulty is caused to any commuter or common person who is seeking to move on the highway to reach his place of business or work," the court had said.
To implement government order No. 353-Home (ISA) of 2019 dated 03-04-2019 regarding regulation of civil traffic during movement of Security Forces Convoys on the National Highways, a meeting was held under the chairmanship of Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir and directions were issued after the meeting and every Deputy Commissioner was asked to nominate a Nodal Officer at the District level whose number shall be duly publicized who will issue travel passes after Making sufficient verification. "Travel Passes shall be issued, in case there are any requirements for local traffic movement for any emergency. However, in case of medical emergencies the ambulances carrying patients with proper medical prescriptions should be allowed after proper checking. Also in case of employees their identity cards will be treated as travel passes."
Deputy Commissioners were asked also prepare a list of schools which are located alongside the National Highway and issue necessary instructions to Zonal Magistrates/Police Officers to allow school buses ferrying students having proper I-Cards on National Highway on days of restriction. The students who are scheduled to appear in the examinations on the days of restrictions should be allowed to travel on National Highway on such days after proper security and their Admit Cards should be treated as their Travel Passes, it had said. "Deputy Commissioners shall prepare a list of employees who need to travel on the National Highway on the specific days for performing of their duties and then issue necessary instructions to the Magistrates/Police Officers deployed on NHIA to treat their I-Cards as travel passes for their unrestricted movement."
The Deputy Commissioners were asked to conduct a survey to ascertain the number of Hospitals. business establishments, offices falling on the National Highway and ensure that the staff of the Hospitals/Offices/shopkeepers are issued travel passes so that they can reach their destinations without any hassle. Similarly those orchardists/horticulturalists whose orchards are adjacent to the National Highway shall also be provided travel passes so that they can access their orchards without any problem. " Deputy Commissioner. Pulwama/Anantnag/Srinagar and Baramulla will appoint Zonal Magistrates for specific length of National Highway who will along with their Police counterparts respond to spontaneous emergencies, if any, arising in their zones. For this purpose Zonal Magistrates shall carry sufficient number of travel passes to be issued to the concerned on the spot."
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