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HC Stays Order on Hoisting of J and K Flag

Last week, the single-judge bench in Srinagar created ripples when it asked all constitutional authorities to hoist the state flag on their vehicles and buildings as mandated under Section 44 of the J&K Constitution.

Acting on an appeal filed by a former IG and BJP’s national secretary Farooq Khan, a Division Bench comprising Justices Bansi Lal Bhat and Tashi Rabstan at Jammu today issued notices to the J&K government and petitioner Abdul Qayoom Khan, a retired forest conservator, who had in 2013 filed the petition.

The division bench stayed the single-judge order with observations that the March 12 order had no “statutory flavour” as J&K Prevention of Insult to State Honours Act, 1979 is a penal statute and its provisions can not be enforced through executive orders like a circular.

He said that he filed the petition on the High Court after “I observed that the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir is being undermined by the legislators and minister b y not hoisting the state flag“.

“If Mufti Syed can’t defend the state’s dignity & flag from the nefarious plans of his allies he should step down & find someone who can!!!”, Omar said.

“Why is only J&K expected to respect the terms of accession while the rest of the country can disregard them with impunity?” he said in a series of tweets. Deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Nirmal Singh had said earlier this week that no flag could be hoisted at an equal level to the national flag. “I am pleading the case as a citizen of Jammu and Kashmir to protect the Flag which is the symbol of Kashmiri nationalism, identity, sovereignty and cultural identity”, Khan told reporters here. The division bench gave the stay on an appeal filed by BJP leader and former top counter-insurgent police officer Farooq Khan.

As the BJP, a partner of the ruling coalition, moved the court on Friday against a separate State flag for Jammu and Kashmir, the Opposition National Conference launched a scathing attack on Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and his People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

To a question, he said, “I don’t think any political party has ever challeged the supremacy or the superior position held by the tricolor and I am sure PDP and NC should also agree to that”.

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