HC orders Govt to hoist state flag on govt. buildings, vehicles

Image Courtesy: Jammuredfine

Srinagar, December 28: Hoisting of State Flag on all the vehicles and building undertaken by all the State Government Department has become mandatory under Section 44 of the J&K Constitution. The order has been issued to all the constitutional authorities by State High Court in a judgment being interpreted as a “re-assertion of Jammu and Kashmir’s lost autonomy”

The judgement was passed by the bench of Justice Hasnain Massodi while hearing the petition filed in 2013 by Abdul Qayoom Khan, who served as a Forest Conservator in the J&K government. The petition has challenged the PDP-BJP government’s decision to withdraw a controversial circular on March 13 this year related to hoisting of the state flag alongside the Tricolour.

On one hand, where BJP has been calling for one flag across the country , the Mufti Mohd Sayeed government had withdrawn the controversial circular, saying it was not approved by a “competent authority”.

While reiterating the special status enjoyed by J&K under Article 370, High Court in its observation on Saturday said that not recommending modification or changes in the Article 370 of the Jammu and Kashmir constitution and allow it to remain in the same form even after the J&K Constitution came into force on January 26, 1957 was an “informed decision” of the J&K Constituent Assembly

The court also questioned the Sixth Amendment which also called The Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir (Sixth Amendment) Act 1965 which replaced Sadr-i- Riyasat with the Governor. It observes that the “elective status of Head of the State was an important attribute of the constitutional autonomy enjoyed by the state”, and a part of the “basic framework” of the state Constitution. It also suggested that the J&K Assembly should consider the matter “to uphold the Constitution and rectify an error”.

While the Senior High Court lawyer Zaffar Shah termed the judgment “a re-assertion and re-confirmation” of the autonomy of J&K, other experts have called it a duty of State government to implement observation made by the High Court with regard to the Sixth Amendment and Sadr-i-Riyasat and the hoisting of state flag if not appealed against before a larger Bench.

Also, the official of state government said that the state will implement the March 12 circular which asked for respect to the state flag. Meanwhile, Advocate General Jahangir Iqbal said any decision on an appeal could be taken only after receiving the ruling’s copy.

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