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Jammu and Kashmir HC rejects plea to ban pellet guns

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The Jammu and Kashmir High court while rejecting a plea seeking ban on use of pellet guns in controlling street protests in Kashmir Valley, cited the ground situation and observed that as long as there is violence by unruly mobs, use of force is inevitable.

A bench of Justices Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also declined the plea to prosecute officers ordering use of pellet guns, even after the apex court had intervened and PAVA guns have been chalked out as the alternative to these guns.

“Having regard to the ground situation prevailing as of now and the fact that Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs has already constituted a Committee of Experts through its Memorandum dated 26 July, 2016 for exploring other alternative to pellet guns….”

“Before filing of the report by the Expert Committee and a decision taken at the government level, we are not inclined to prohibit the use of pellet guns in rare and extreme situations,” the court said in its order in Srinagar on Wednesday.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by Kashmir High Court Bar Association seeking ban on use of pellet guns for crowd control.

The court said “it is manifest that so long as there is violence by unruly mobs, use of force is inevitable”.

What kind of force has to be used at the relevant point of time or in a given situation or place, has to be decided by the persons in-charge of the place where the attack is happening, it said.

“This court in the writ jurisdiction without any finding rendered by the competent forum/ authority cannot decide as to whether the use of force in particular incident is excessive or not,” the court said.

The bench also declined the plea to prosecute the officers who ordered use of pellet guns and those who actually fired them.

“Same cannot be considered in this petition as no findings on use of excessive force, violating the guidelines issued in SOP (Standard Operating Procedure), have been recorded by any fact-finding authority,” it said.

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