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Friday, June 24, 2011

Cabinet keeps all but one corrupt officials intact

Ejaz shifted to ARI, Peer gets H&ME, Gazanfar CT, Vineeta Excise

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jun 23: Keeping all the corrupt officials and bureaucrats intact on their prize postings, with the exception of Commissioner-Secretary Revenue, state Cabinet today ordered a minor reshuffle of eight senior KAS and IAS officers. Status quo was also maintained in favour of certain IAS officers holding multiple prize portfolios and others burning their own hearts.

The Cabinet meeting, presided over by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, was widely expected to order a major reshuffle in the state Police and civil administration as a number of officials and bureaucrats are facing serious charges of corruption and nepotism even as dozens more have overstayed on their places of posting.

Official sources said that after a discussion on proposed reshuffle of Deputy Commissioners and Heads of Departments, Cabinet decided to take up this issue in its next meeting. A number of HoDs, including Directors of several key departments and three DCs, would be shifted to new places of posting in that meeting. Sources said that Cabinet was likely to pick up two senior KAS/IAS officers as the new DCs in Srinagar and Budgam districts in the Valley.

Even as the Cabinet kept almost all the corrupt officials and bureaucrats intact, it removed Commissioner-Secretary Revenue, Sheikh Ejaz Iqbal, to the insignificant position of Commissioner-Secretary Administrative Reforms, Inspections and Trainings, relieving Commissioner-Secretary Social Welfare, Jeet Lal Gupta, of his additional charge.

Brother of key accused in the infamous Gulmarg Roshni Scam, Sheikh Mehboob Iqbal, has been left intact as Commissioner-Secretary Irrigation and Public Health Engineering but his younger brother, Sheikh Ejaz Iqbal, who is the key accused in another matter as former Managing Director of J&K State Financial Corporation (SFC), has been shifted to ARI and Trainings. Even as State Vigilance Organisation (SVO), reportedly under influence of two Cabinet Ministers, one each of Congress and National Conference, has adopted a “go slow” in Gulmarg Roshni Scam till Mehboob Iqbal’s retirement later this year, sleuths last month conducted a raid on offices of SFC and seized files pertaining to selling of government land on remarkably low rates when Ejaz was functioning as MD.

Like Mehboob, all the accused in Gulmarg Roshni Scam, have been placed on prize positions by Omar Abdullah government in the last two years. While one of them has been appointed as a member of J&K State Public Service Commission (PSC), another has been not only appointed as Deputy Commissioner of a key district in Jammu but also recommended for induction into the prestigious Indian Administrative Service without mandatory SVO clearance. Government has also conveniently shut its eyes to omissions and commissions of officers in PSC, Cultural Academy, SKUAST (J), Urban Local Bodies, Law Department and Rural Development Department.

Ghulam Ahmed Peer, Excise Commissioner, (holding additional charge of Commissioner, Commercial Taxes), has been transferred and posted as Commissioner-Secretary to Government, Health and Medical Education Department, relieving Principal Secretary to Government, Housing and Urban Development Department of the additional charge.

Secretary in the Agriculture Production Department, Gazanfer Hussain, has been transferred and posted as Commissioner Commercial Taxes, relieving Excise Commissioner of his/her additional charge. Smt. Vineeta Gupta, Additional Commissioner, Commercial Taxes (Administration), Jammu, has been transferred and appointed as Excise Commissioner, J&K.

Director Handicrafts, Mehraj-ud-Din Kenu, has been transferred and posted as Director Industries and Commerce, Kashmir.

Director, Industries and Commerce, Kashmir, Kachoo Isfandyar Khan, has been transferred and posted as Commissioner-Secretary to Government, Revenue Department.

Munshi Muzaffar Hussain, Additional District Development Commissioner, Budgam, has been transferred and posted as Director, Handicrafts, J&K.

Kiran Wattal, Joint Commissioner (Works), Jammu Municipal Corporation has been transferred and posted as Secretary, J&K Sports Council, on deputation basis relieving Director,Youth Services and Sports of his additional charge of the post. During his posting in the Sports Council, Wattal shall retain lien in his parent organization.


Cabinet orders major reshuffle in Police

Farooq, Kamal Saini back from disgrace; Basant Rath shifted to Vigilance

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, June 23: In a major shake-up in medium and higher rungs of Jammu & Kashmir Police, Cabinet today salvaged two senior officers, namely Farooq Ahmed and Dr Kamal Saini, from their ‘date of birth disgrace’ even as it succumbed to pressures from influential quarters and removed SSP Jammu, Basant Rath, to State Vigilance Organisation. In follow-up to clearance from respective Departmental Promotion Committees (DPCs), Cabinet also promoted a number of SSPs, DIGs and IGPs to next ranks of hierarchy.

The State Cabinet which met here this evening under the chairmanship of Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, accorded sanction to the promotion of Dr Shesh Pal Vaid, Smt D.R. Doley and Navin Aggarwal, IPS officers of 1986 batch of the J&K IPS Cadre to the rank of Additional DGP.

Cabinet also approved the promotion/placement of DIGs Rauf-ul-Hassan, Surinder Kumar Gupta, Ghulam Ahmad Dar, Ashok Kumar Atri and Jhony William. It also approved placement of SSPs Rajinder Prasad Rasotra, Parminder Singh, Javid Riyaz Bedar (now retired), Syed Ahafadul Mujtaba, Abdul Hamid, Mushtaq Mohammad Sadiq and Shakeel Ahmed Beigh in Selection Grade of IPS

Consequent upon this, the Cabinet also ordered transfer and appointment of some promotee ADGPs.  Mrs D R. Doley, IPS (JK-1986) IGP, Hqrs PHQ, on her promotion as ADGP was posted as ADGP, Headquaters, PHQ against available vacancy. Navin Agarwal, on promotion as ADGP was posted as ADGP, Security against the post of ADGP, CID.

Zahoor Hussain Chishti, IGP, Armed/IR Kashmir was transferred and posted as IGP, Vigilance vice Deepak Kumar.

Subsequent to his joining back under orders of a J&K High Court, Farooq Ahmad was posted as IGP, Railways against the post of IGP Technical Services J&K. His service had been unceremoniously terminated earlier this year in the wake of a communication regarding his change in date of birth from union Ministry of Home Affairs. Even after Omar Abdullah government has conceded and has not gone in appeal against the court order, Farooq Ahmed is due to retire from service in November this year.

Arun Kumar Choudhary, IGP, Technical Services, has been transferred and posted as IGP, Armed/IR Jammu against an available vacancy. Deepak Kumar, IGP, Vigilance,  has been transferred and posted as IGP at Police Headquarters against an available vacancy. The charge of the post of IGP, Technical Services shall be held by IGP Sheikh Owais Ahmad in addition to his own duties.

Rouf-ul-Hassan, on his promotion as IGP, has been posted as IGP Armed/IR Kashmir vice Zahoor Hassan Chisti. Yet another victim of the date-of-birth controversy, Dr Kamal Saini has been reinstated and posted as DIG, IR Jammu against an available vacancy.

T Namgyal, awaiting orders of adjustment, has been posted as DIG, Armed Kashmir against a vacancy caused due to the promotion of  Rouf-ul-Hassan. T Punchok, DIG, Armed, Jammu, has been transferred and posted as Joint Director, SKPA, Udhampur.  Mubarik Ahmad Ganaie, DIG, Railways Security J&K has been transferred and posted as DIG, Home Guards and Civil Defence Kashmir against the available vacancy.

Surrinder Kumar Gupta, on his promotion as DIG, has been posted as Director, Civil Military Liaison vice Mr S. Gopal Reddy, IPS. He will takeover the charge from Mr. S. Gopal Reddy, IPS on his relieving for Inter Cadre deputation to his home state of Andhra Pradesh later this month.

A. K. Atri, on his promotion as DIG, has been posted as DIG, Railways Security, J&K vice Mr. Mubarik Ahmad Ganaie. Johny William, on his promotion as DIG, has been posted as DIG, Armed Jammu vice T. Punchok,

Showkat Ahmad Malik, SSP, Railways Kashmir, has been  transferred and posted as SSP, CID SB Kashmir against the vacancy caused due to retirement of Mr. Javaid Reyaz Bedar. Shakeel Ahmad Beigh, SSP Security Jammu, has been transferred and posted as SSP, Udhampur vice Surinder Kumar.

Reportedly under increasing pressure from certain influential quarters, SSP Jammu, Basant Kumar Rath, has been shifted to Vigilance Organisation Jammu and replaced by SSP Rajouri, Anand Jain. Vijay Singh Sambyal, Commandant IR-8th Bn, has been transferred and posted as SSP, Rajouri vice Anand Jain. Nisar Ahmad, SSP, VOJ, has been transferred and posted as SSP, Crime Branch Jammu against the vacancy caused due to promotion of Johny William.

Varinder Sharma, SSP, Traffic Rural, Jammu has been transferred and posted as SSP, Doda against the clear vacancy. Vijay Kumar, Commandant, IR-15th  Bn has been transferred and posted as SSP, PCR Jammu.

Sujit Kumar, SP, South Srinagar has been transferred and posted as Additional SP, Budgam vice Suleman Choudhary, IPS, who has been appointed as SP City South in Srinagar

Rupinder Kumar Chalotra, SP, PCR Jammu has been transferred and posted as SP, Security Jammu vice Shakeel Ahmad Beigh. Abdul Rashid Lone, SP, SO to ADGP, Security has been transferred and posted as SP, SSG against the post of Dy. CO IR-4th Bn. Abdul Razak Khan, SP, PTWS, Jammu has been transferred and posted as SP, Traffic Rural, Jammu vice Varinder Sharma.

Rishi Ram Dogra, SP awaiting orders of adjustment, has been posted as Commandant IR-15th Bn vice Vijay Kumar 2nd.  Bhopinder Singh, Addl. SP, Udhampur has been transferred and posted as Commandant IR-8th Bn vice Vijay Singh Sambyal.

Suhail Munawar Mir, Dy. Commandant IR-12th Bn has been transferred and posted as Staff Officer to DIG, Central Kashmir, Srinagar, against clear vacancy.
Baqar Hassan Samoon, SO to IGP, Traffic J&K, has been transferred and posted as SP, Railways Kashmir vice Showkat Malik. Mohammad Yasin Kichloo, SO to DIG Jammu/Kathua Range has been transferred and posted as SP PTWS Jammu vice Abdul Razak Khan.

Rajinder Gupta, Addl. SP, CID SB Jammu, has been transferred and posted as Addl. SP Udhampur vice Bupinder Singh. Rajesh Bali, Addl. SP, CID Batote, has been transferred and posted as SP (Tech) CID Hqrs against a post of Dy. Commandant, IR-18th Bn vice Ramesh Kumar Angral, who has been posted as SO to IGP Jammu vice A. K. Atri.

Mohan Lal, Addl. SP, Doda has been transferred and posted as Addl. SP Katra against clear vacancy. Benam Tosh, SP, Dy. CO, IR-11th Bn has been transferred and posted as SO to DIG, Jammu/Kathua Range Mohammad Yasin Kichloo.

Tej Ram Katoch, Addl. SP, Bhaderwah, has been transferred and posted as SO to ADGP, Security vice Mr. Abdul Rashid Lone. Roop Raj, Dy. Commandant, IR-9th Bn has been transferred and posted as Addl. SP, Bhaderwah vice Mr. Tej Ram Katoch. Altaf Hussain Khan, SP, APCR, Srinagar has been transferred and posted as SO to IGP, Traffic vice Baqar Hassan Samoon.

Showkat Iqbal, SP, Dy. CO, JKAP-3rd Bn  is transferred and posted as SP, APCR Srinagar vice Altaf Hussain Khan. Ranbir Singh Manhas, Dy. Commandant IR-8th Bn,  is transferred and posted as SO to ADGP HG CD and Aux. Police against clear vacancy. Farooq Ahmad Hakeem, Dy. CO, IR-16th Bn has been transferred and posted as Addl. SP Security Kashmir alongwith post.


Cable TV news to remain shut in Kashmir

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jun 22: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah made it unambiguously clear at today’s news conference that his Government would not permit any news and current affairs programmes on the cable television channels in Kashmir valley. He asked senior Congress leader and Minister incharge Irrigation and Public Health Engineering, Taj Mohiuddin, not to sacrifice his berth in the Cabinet over this issue.

When one of the mediapersons desired to learn from Chief Minister if there were any plans to lift the ban and permit news and current programmes on the cable TV channels and networks in Kashmir, Omar said: “No, we are not going to allow it”. Chief Minister, however, did not explain as to why there were two yardsticks for Kashmir and Jammu. The questioner pointed out that all news and current affairs were running without break on all cable TV channels and networks in Jammu while as Government had imposed ban and the same was in place on all such programmes on the cable TV channels in Kashmir valley.

The questioner told Chief Minister that his senior Cabinet colleague, Taj Mohiuddin, had threatened to quit in case Government did not lift the ban on operation of news and current affairs programmes on Valley’s cable TV channels. “If Taj Sahab has said so, I’ll talk to him. I would not like to lose a very cable Minister. But, let it be clear that we are not going to allow any such (news) programmes”, Omar added.

Reportedly on directions from Government of India, Government of Jammu and Kashmir had got all news and current affairs programmes on all cable TV channels banned in Kashmir valley through respective District Magistrates in September 2010. However, similar programmes were left intact on different cable TV channels and networks in Jammu where the operations have been continuing without any disturbance from the authorities.

Around July 2010, Government of J&K had also stopped all paid advertisements to at least five daily newspapers, including Early Times. Without any formal order from the competent authority, all government advertisements to Early Times have been frozen and not a single advertisement has been issued to this newspaper in the last 11 months.


Omar: NC stood 1st, PDP 2nd, Cong 3rd in Panchayat elections

First indication that Justice Imtiyaz would be a member and Justice Kakroo Chairman of SAC

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jun 22: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today claimed that his party National Conference stood at number one while winning maximum number of seats in the just concluded Panchayat elections in Jammu and Kashmir even as the principal opposition party, PDP, emerged as the first runner-up and the coalition partner, Congress, had to be content with the third position.

In a rare interaction with Srinagar-based media---just third after be became Chief Minister in January 2009---Omar Abdullah asserted that much like the Assembly elections of 2008 NC had secured most of the Panchayat segments, followed by PDP and Congress respectively. Asked for his reaction to the PDP President Mehbooba Mufti’s repeatedly made claim that her party had won maximum number of seats in the recently concluded Panchayat elections, Omar said: “It’s true that respective party symbols were not used in these elections. We must admit that all parties fielded their candidates. As Chief Minister, I am in possession of all statistics regarding performance of different political parties but it won’t be right to disclose the details”.

“I know that I’ll become a target of many attacks from different quarters once I share these details with media. But, I can still share with you on the basis of an exercise conducted by Rural Development Department that NC stood at number one, PDP at number two and my coalition partner, Congress, at number three in terms of performance”, Chief Minister asserted.

Responding to a related question, Chief Minister admitted that NC had performed “not as good as we had expected” in a number of Assembly segments it had won in 2008 elections. He, however, claimed that in several of PDP’s segments like Mehbooba Mufti’s Wachi, in Shopian district, NC had fared the best and won maximum number of the Panchayat seats.

Omar extended his bounteous gratitude to the people of Jammu and Kashmir for breaking all previous records of massive participation in the Panchayat elections, held on non-party basis, after near thirty years. “Speculations and apprehensions were galore when we accepted the challenge of conducting the grass-root democratic exercise. Cynics first claimed that we would never hold these elections. They later claimed that there would be no candidates. When thousands of candidates jumped into the fray, pessimists said that there would be no voters. After record participation, they are now saying that we would never empower Panches and Sarpaches”, Chief Minister said.

He asserted that his government would soon empower all elected Panches and Sarpanches in accordance with the report of a high level committee that was expected to be laid before the Cabinet for its approval in near future. He said that the committee, headed by Chief Secretary Madhav Lal, was now in the process of completing the report.

Chief Minister admitted that it would take some time for the MLAs, MLCs and Ministers to reconcile to the Panchayat Raj system being introduced for the first time in Jammu & Kashmir. Chief Minister announced that block level representatives would be elected in phase-II of the democratic exercise “very soon”. “Let there be absolutely no doubts with regard to empowering these public representatives at all levels”, Chief Minister said, albeit, without making specific announcement of an amendment to the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.

Asked whether the forthcoming elections for over 150 urban local bodies in J&K would also be held on non-party basis on the pattern of Panchayat elections, Chief Minister said that a decision to that effect would be taken by the Cabinet according to the recommendations to be received from Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. He made it clear that both the options were still open.

Without any prompting or provocation, Omar sought to assert that the Panchayat or civic body elections were no substitute to finding the “political resolution to the political problem” in Jammu and Kashmir. In sharp contrast to one of the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi’s statements, Omar segregated the Panchayat elections from the process of resolving the political problem of J&K. According to him, Government of India had initiated the larger exercise by way of fielding a panel of three interlocutors and simultaneously holding Foreign Secretary level talks with Government of Pakistan. He said it was pretty reassuring that almost all the apprehensions, that had lately come up with Osama Bin Laden’s killing by the American troops in Pakistan coupled by David Colman Headley’s disclosures in a Chicago court, had now vanished.

“We are hopeful of substantive progress in Delhi-Islamabad talks. Interlocutors are also well on their job. As of now, they have interacted with people of different ideologies but there has been just one-odd meeting with the separatists. We wish all separatist groups to meet the interlocutors whose mandate from New Delhi has no redlines. Rather than meeting with groups and individuals who can give them nothing, separatists should discuss things with the authorized interlocutors”, Chief Minister asserted, with a repeated dig at Ram Jethmalani’s “Kashmir Committee”.

Truth & Reconciliation Commission
Asked about the fate of the “Truth & Reconciliation Commission” he had promised during Assembly elections of 2008 and announced to constitute in this year’s Budget session in the state Legislature, Chief Minister said that it would end up an exercise in futility until simultaneously operated on the other side of the LoC. He implored New Delhi and Islamabad to endorse TRC as a confidence building measure.

Accession is permanent
In reply to a journalist’s reference to Omar Abdullah’s famous statement---‘J&K has acceded to, not merged into India’---Chief Minister made it clear that he had not disputed the finality or permanence of the state’s accession to India. He stood by his assertion that merger and accession were two different phenomena but asserted that J&K’s accession to India was permanent. “Don’t please put any words into my mouth”, he asked the questioner.

Good governance
Asked for his reaction to the union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s wish that Omar should promote “good governance”, Chief Minister asserted that the central Minister had not suggested there was any “bad governance”. “If he’ll say so, he’ll be pointing his fingers on the Ministers of his own party. Congress is my key share holder. All the key portfolios are with our coalition partner”, Chief Minister said. He asserted that he would not waste any time in taking action should someone come forward with specific allegations of corruption against any of his Ministers.

State Accountability Commission
Chief Minister admitted that there had been inordinate delay in appointing Chairman and two members in the defunct State Accountability Commission (SAC). He, however, announced that two members would be appointed by next month and third one in October. For the first time, Chief Minister indicated that Mr Justice Hakeem Imtiyaz Hussain, who is due to retire as a judge of J&K High Court on July 16th, could be appointed as a member and Mr Justice Nisar Ahmed Kakroo, who is retiring as Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court, could be appointed as SAC’s Chairman. Under the law, any serving/retired judge of High Court is eligible to becoming a member and any serving/retired Chief Justice of High Court or a judge of Supreme Court of India is eligible to appointment as SAC’s Chairman.

Responding to questions with regard to his stress on withdrawal of J&K Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Chief Minister disclosed that a high level committee was conducting the exercise to find the areas to be declared as not disturbed. The committee was also assessing to what level these special powers could be retained and withdrawn. “We have not till date received any recommendations from this committee”, Omar said. He revealed that GOCs of Srinagar-based 15th Corps, Jammu-based 16th Corps, Principal Secretary Home and Director General of J&K Police were members of the committee.

Chief Minister said that with the exception of one parameter, J&K was currently witnessing the most peaceful year of the last 21 years of armed insurgency and political strife. According to him, total number of civilians killed by militants in 2011 till date was 23 as compared to 22 in the corresponding period in 2010. “But, let it be clear that there should be no room for complacency. Kashmir, unfortunately, has a history. Sometimes, things change here rapidly”, Chief Minister said with a word of caution.


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Justice Sunil Hali shifted to Allahabad High Court on ‘complaint basis’

IB report questions “extraordinary friendship” with Srinagar-based advocate

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

SRINAGAR, Jun 21: In an extraordinary judicial development, judge of Jammu & Kashmir High Court, Mr Justice Sunil Hali, has been transferred and appointed as a judge of Allahabad High Court. He has been directed to assume charge of his new office in Lucknow by or before July 4th. A notification issued by Government of India is silent with regard to reason but knowledgeable sources insist that Justice Hali’s transfer is the result of a “campaign” against him that includes “negative reporting” from Intelligence Bureau.

Sources in the Department of Justice of the Union Ministry of Law and Justice disclosed to Early Times that in ultimate follow up to a chain of formalities and procedures at the Collegium of Supreme Court of India besides offices of Chief Justice of India and President of India, notification of Justice Sunil Hali’s transfer was finally issued on June 20th. According to the notification dated June 20th and issued by Joint Secretary to Government of India, Satish C Srivastava, a copy of which is available with Early Times, Mr Justice Hali has been transferred from J&K High Court and appointed as a judge in Allahabad High Court.

The notification reads: “ In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 222 of the Constitution of India, read with Article 222 (1A) of the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 1954, the President of India, after consultation with the Governor of Jammu & Kashmir and the Chief Justice of India, is pleased to transfer Sh Justice Sunil Hali, judge of the Jammu & Kashmir High Court, as a judge of the Allahabad High Court and to direct him to assume charge of his office in the Allahabad High Court on or before 4th of July 2011”.

Knowledgeable judicial sources described Justice Hali’s transfer as “extremely surprising” in view of the fact that it had come at a time when the number of judges in J&K High Court had reduced to just nine against the sanctioned strength of 14. With Justice Hali’s transfer, without replacement, there are now total of eight judges in J&K High Court. They include Chief Justice. Born on 22-02-1951, Justice Hali is due to reach superannuation in February 2013. Normally, judges left with less than two years of service are not shifted from their places of posting, particularly when posted in their home states.

Sources insisted that Justice Hali’s transfer was the culmination of a “virulent campaign” against him that had started even before he was picked up from Bar and appointed as an Additional Judge in J&K High Court on 15-03-2008. He was subsequently elevated and appointed as a Permanent Judge of J&K High Court on 05-03-2010. According to sources, strong lobbies in executive and judiciary had opposed his appointment and heaps of complaints and negative reports stalled the process for over one year even after his name was recommended by the Collegium in J&K High Court.

Sources revealed that the complaints submitted to Government of India, President of India and Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India, besides union Ministry of Law and Justice, included Justice Hali’s “extraordinary liaison” with a senior Srinagar-based advocate and a top functionary of High Court Bar Association who has been a stanch advocate of Kashmir’s separation from India. Some of the complaints purportedly pointed out that a separatist activist’s relative, whose maximum practice has been in Jammu wing of J&K High Court, had obtained more than 80 percent of desired orders in favour of his clients from the court of Mr Justice Hali.

Justice Hali and his supporters had vehemently contradicted all of such allegations in a host of representations to Chief Justice, President of India and other institutions. Hali was strongly favoured by High Court Bar Association (HCBA) Srinagar as well as Bar Association Jammu (BAJ). BAJ had not only passed a resolution, favouring Justice Hali’s continuation in the home state till his retirement, but also deputed a delegation to New Delhi earlier this year. The delegation, headed by President BAJ, Adv B S Salathia, had among others met union Minister of Law and Justice, Veerapa Moily, and union Minister of Health and former J&K Chief Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad, with representations in Justice Hali’s favour.

The BAJ delegation had also met senior member of the Collegium of Supreme Court of India, Justice Altamash Kabir and another judge of Supreme Court of India, Justice Aftab Alam, who had previously functioned as Chief Justice of J&K High Court.

Different minority organizations and civil society organs had favoured Hali with a strong signature campaign that carried thousands of signatures, hailing Hali’s integrity and contribution to Bar as well as judiciary. They had also pointed out that Hali was the only member from the minority Kashmiri Pandit community in J&K High Court.

According to sources, Collegium of Supreme Court of India approved and recommended Justice Hali’s transfer from J&K when Chief Justice of India, Mr Justice S H Kapadia, referred the complaints for verification to IB. The IB, according to sources, reported that there was “substance” in the complaints. Recommendations of the Collegium are normally binding on the government. After consultation with J&K Governor, N N Vohra, President of India ordered Justice Hali’s transfer and the notification was subsequently issued by Ministry of Law and Justice yesterday.