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"...[if] the security persons are attacked by huge and violent mobs, they have to necessarily use force in their self defence and for protecting public property", the Court observed.
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court recently dismissed a writ petition filed by the J&K High Court Bar Association urging for a ban on the use of pellet guns by government security forces, and claiming reliefs for people who were injured by the use of pellet guns in 2016.
The writ petition was filed following unpleasant clashes that had occurred early in July 2016, when several thousands of people suffered serious pellet gun injuries during the clashes between protestors and security forces.
The reliefs sought in the petition included:
Prohibition of use of 12-Bore Pellet Guns for crowd control in J&K
The Security Force personnel, who had used Pellet Guns may be directed to be prosecuted for having caused injuries to people;
That the respondents be directed to compensate the injured persons whose names may come on record;
Hospital authorities may be asked to furnish details of the persons who had come for treatment on account of pellet injuries;
Government be directed to bring competent surgeons from outside the State for providing treatment to the persons whose eyes were injured.
At the outset, the Division Bench of Justices Dhiraj Singh Thakur and Ali Mohammad Magrey took note that another Bench had already rejected prayers for a ban on the use of pellet guns, by an order passed in September 2016.
The second prayer had also been dealt with in 2016, and the Court had found that the security force personnel had used the pellet guns to defend themselves from unruly mobs.
As far as the prayers for grant of compensation were concerned, the Court observed that the Government had already awarded compensation ranging from Rs 50,000 to 75,000, depending on the degree of disablement suffered on account of pellet injuries.
The government also told the Court that it would disburse further compensation to those who have not been compensated yet, in line with government policy.
This being the case, the Bench held that it could not grant relief to satisfy every individual allegedly injured in police action. This opinion was bolstered by the Court's 2016 observations that police stations were being frequently targeted by unruly mobs. As noted in the judgment passed on Wednesday,
"This Court in this PIL, in its jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, can not grant a relief to the satisfaction of every such individual allegedly injured in police action, especially so when there is a finding recorded by the Court in its order dated 21.09.2016 that almost every day, in the guise of protests, the security personnel, their camps and Police Stations were targeted by unruly crowds..."
Jammu and Kashmir High Court
The Bench further held,