Waving Pak flags in Kashmir not offensive as per HC verdict: Masarat’s counsel

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Before the court of Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Budgam, the counsel for separatist leader Masarat Alam Wednesday submitted that as per the high court verdict of the year 1983, waving Oak national flag in Jammu and Kashmir is not an offense.

The CJM Budgam Wednesday heard the arguments and counter arguments about the bail application of Masarat Alam Bhat with the final verdict into the case to be issued on Saturday, April 25.

Advocate Shabir Ahmad Bhat who appeared in the court on behalf of Masarat Alam, told KNS that he defended his client and challenged the sections imposed by the government against Alam on April 17 when he was arrested from his old city residence.

Pertinently, while registering an FIR at the Budgam police station against Geelani, Masarat and others under Section 120-B, 147, 341, 336 and 427 of the Ranbir Penal Code and 13 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act on April 15 immediately after Pakistan flags were raised in Geelani’s rally, the state government had later defended the arrest of Masarat on April 17 by issuing a handout, stating that he was arrested for “seditious activities.”

Advocate Shabir Bhat told KNS that as per the verdict issued by the high court in the year 1984, waving of Pakistan’s flag is not an offence and that as per the judgment that was then issued by Justice G.M. Mir; Alam cannot be held or detained under any such offence.  “The high court here has passed this judgment in November 24, 1983 during the case titled Hajra Begum Vs State of Jammu and Kashmir. I have submitted the references of that case in today’s hearing. The final verdict will be issued on April 25,” confirmed Advocate Shabir.

Chief Prosecuting Officer (CPO) Budgam also put forth his arguments before the court of Kamlesh Pandita, CJM Budgam, who now has to issue his orders on the bail application.

The government in its objections filed through the prosecution has further said that the offense under Section 121 (waging war against the country) of the RPC, which was not mentioned earlier in the FIR and has been added after arresting Masarat, carries punishment of death or imprisonment to life and is also liable to fine if proved. “As such Section 479 (1), Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC), clearly restricts the powers of the court to release the accused on bail,” the government has argued while opposing the release of Masarat on bail.

Describing Masarat as a habitual offender, against whom 28 cases are registered, including the present one, the government in its objections has further stated that his activities are also against the security, peace and sovereignty of the state. Stating that the investigation of the case is at the preliminary stage, the prosecution has submitted that Masarat’s custodial interrogation is further needed by the police.

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