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HC directs Govt to treat all 5300 POJK DP families residing outside J&K at par with POJK DP families

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STATE TIMES NEWS

JAMMU: In a landmark judgment, Justice Rahul Bharti of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court on Friday observed that as the Government of India has now volunteered to revisit and reorient the entire position with respect to 5300 displaced families of PoJK of 1947 through their successors/heirs settled outside the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir and that includes consideration of their respective entitlement to get and be paid the one time settlement amount as afforded to the 26,319 displaced families of PoJK of 1947 settled in the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir.
The High Court, after hearing Senior Adv Sunil Sethi with battery of lawyers, disposed of all the writ petitions with a direction to the Govt. of India to treat the 5300 displaced families of PoJK of 1947 through their successors/heirs settled outside the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir alike and equally with the 26,319 displaced families of PoJK of 1947 settled in the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir and consequently work out one time settlement rehabilitation package as made admissible to 26,319 displaced families of PoJK of 1947 settled in the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir and further to accord same status and entitlements in their respective favour as held and enjoyed by the 26,319 displaced families of PoJK of 1947 settled in the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir. Needful to be done at the earliest, and preferable within six months next.
Justice Rahul Bharti observed that commonality of the causes in the writ Petitions is that while the pain and deprivation of some 5300 uprooted & displaced families of the then princely State of Jammu & Kashmir in the wake of 1947 invasion came to be assuaged in due course of time by the law of nature itself but remained unassuaged by the lawmakers and lawmen all along compounding said pain, suffering and deprivation to pass in inheritance even to next generations ultimately getting presented through the writ petitions before this court in the year 2017-2018 with an abiding trust that what article 14 of the Constitution of India holds and ensures in tryst to all citizens of India, that is Bharat, will come in reality to their assuagement in the matter of getting much delayed and deferred attention and acknowledgment of being entitled not only to get their share of relief and rehabilitation packages extended by the Govt. of India and the Govt. of State of Jammu & Kashmir from time to time but also restoration of a long deprived status of being the very much permanent subjects of the State of Jammu & Kashmir .
Finding that outside State of Jammu & Kashmir settled 5300 displaced families being again left out to be shareholder in a One-Time financial settlement pie of rupees two thousand (Rs.2000) crores whereby rupees five lac fifty thousand (Rs. 5.50 lakh) per family was being made available to 26,319 similarly displaced families of PoJK of 1947 who had got camped and settled in the then State of Jammu & Kashmir upon becoming part of India on October 26, 1947, the petitioners have come up following one another with their respective writ petitions registering their festering anguish about the fact of discrimination and exclusion inflicted and practiced upon them in the matter of their non-rehabilitation and non-recognition of rights by the successive governments of the times of the then State of Jammu & Kashmir for reasons which were never equality driven but discrimination infested.
At this moment it would be very apt to observe here that if the parliamentary legislation in the form of Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 would not have intervened to change the constitutional status of Jammu & Kashmir from being one of the States of Union of India to become two entities of Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh, the adjudication of these writ petitions would have involved sifting of legal and political ingredients of the matter in examining whether the successive political entities being in government of the then State of Jammu & Kashmir could act with double standard to deal with and discriminate 1947 displaced families of the then princely State of Jammu & Kashmir just by reference to their place of shelter camps being within the State of Jammu and Kashmir or outside it in some other neighboring States of India from whereon the displaced families had begun their new course of life as subjects of India but not to be recognized as subjects of the State of Jammu & Kashmir even upon it being one of 565 princely States becoming part of India to come under the canopy of the Constitution of India.
Justice Rahul Bharti after hearing both the sides observed that in the present case, the discrimination and exclusion of displaced families of PoJK of 1947 settled outside State of Jammu 7 Kashmir as compared to the replica displaced families of PoJK of 1947 which remained settled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir is more acute and artificial having no sense and substances whatsoever. In the present case the discrimination has not been law driven but discretion engineered on the part of the successive governments of the State of Jammu & Kashmir. At no point of time it was declared or could be declared by any government of the day in the governance of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, be it in elected or non-elected status, that 5300 displaced families of PoJK of 1947 which got settled outside the State of Jammu & Kashmir were not the natives and bonafide & hereditary subjects of the princely State of Jammu & Kashmir so as not to be entitled to become subjects of the political State of Jammu & Kashmir.
In comparison to the case (supra) dealt by the Supreme Court of India where Indians settled long back in Sikkim were held entitled to be reckoned as Sikkimese, in the present case the 5300 displaced families of PoJK of 1947 settled outside State of Jammu & Kashmir are reclaiming and reinforcing their vested status of being the subjects of the State of Jammu & Kashmir as were and are the 26,319 displaced families of PoJK of 1947 who remained settled in the State of Jammu & Kashmir. Dislocation from princely State of Jammu & Kashmir in October 1947 was not self-invited or self-opted by 31,619 displaced families of affected part of the princely State of Jammu & Kashmir and similarly lodgment of the displaced families in the refugee camps in and outside the State of Jammu & Kashmir was not a matter of refugee camp shopping by and for the destitute and displaced families of PoJK. At no point of time, the government of any given time in the State of Jammu & Kashmir had come forward with a legislation or an executive law, meant as a call for the 5300 displaced families of PoJK of 1947 settled outside the State of Jammu & Kashmir to exercise their respective options of retaining their status as subject of the State of Jammu and Kashmir or to relinquish it. Thus, what actually came to be practiced by the government of the State of Jammu & Kashmir from time to time against 5300 displaced families of PoJK of 1947 settled outside the State of Jammu & Kashmir was a discrimination and exclusion, all along, without any legitimacy and legality.

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