In a significant development, the Jammu and Kashmir high court has ordered to reopen of the Nandimarg Massacre case that involved the brutal killing of 24 Kashmir pandits in the Pulwama district in 2003. The mass killing was initiated by terrorists of Lashkar-e-taiba terrorists.

The court noted while referring to the dismissal of the revision petition against the order of session judge, Shopian, that it has jurisdiction to recall an order which is a nullity in the eyes of law.

It is within the court’s jurisdiction to recall orders that are void in legal terms because the High Court had passed an order without providing any justification, according to Justice Sanjay Dhar, who also stated that recall of the order dated December 21, 2011, of this court by which the criminal revision petition against a sessions judge order was dismissed will stand.

Following the massacre, an FIR was filed in Zainapore, and seven suspects were ultimately charged after a probe by the Pulwama Court of Principal Sessions Judge. Later, this was moved to the Shopian Court of Principal Sessions Judge.

Justice Dhar mentioned in his order, “it seems that during the pendency of the trial, the prosecution moved an application before the trial court seeking permission to examine material prosecution witnesses on commission, as according to the prosecution, these witnesses had migrated out of Kashmir Valley and they were reluctant to depose before the trial court at Shopian in view of the threat perception.”

However, on February 9, 2011, the session judge rejected the application. It was also rejected when it was contested in High Court via a Criminal Revision petition.

By pointing out the distinction between the power of recall and the right of review of the ruling, the judge dismissed the claim made by the respondent, Zia Mustaffa, an Islamist terrorist from Pakistan who is thought to have planned the 2003 massacre.

Justice Dhar stated, “this Court does have jurisdiction to recall an order which is a nullity in the eyes of law… As already noted, the criminal revision petition against the impugned order passed by the learned Sessions Judge, Shopian, has been dismissed by this Court without hearing the petitioner and without giving reasons for its dismissal.”


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