Jammu and Kashmir HC Upholds PM’s Employment Package (2009) ForKashmiri Pandits Living In The Valley

There can be no two views that in a landmark, latest and laudable judgment delivered by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in Kashmiri Sikh Community and others v. State of J&K and others in OWP no. 2048/2017 just recently on February 14, 2019, it has very rightly upheld PM’s Employment Package (2009) for Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley.  Every Indian must salute the heroic determination of all those Kashmiri Pandits who did not flee the Valley despite all round pressure on them and terrorists breathing down their neck since such a long time from 1990s onwards! No doubt, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court has very rightly turned down the plea challenging special dispensation in the matter of employment given in favour of Kashmiri Pandits living in Kashmir Valley for which it must be applauded and appreciated in no uncertain terms.
Jammu and Kashmir HC Upholds PM’s Employment Package (2009) For Kashmiri Pandits Living In The Valley

                            First and foremost, this commendable and noteworthy judgment delivered by Justice Sanjeev Kumar of Jammu and Kashmir High Court sets the ball rolling in para 1 by bringing out that, “The petitioner no. 1 claims to be a body of Kashmiri Sikhs, represented by one Shri Santpal Singh, resident of Aloochi Bagh, Srinagar. The petitioners 2 & 3 claim to be the unemployed Kashmiri Sikh youth. The petitioners are aggrieved of special dispensation in the matter of employment given in favour of Kashmiri Pandits, living in Kashmir Valley, by amending J&K Migrants (Special Drive) Recruitment Rules 2009 (for short “Rules of 2009”) in terms of SRO 425 dated 10th October 2017. They are also aggrieved by the subsequent Government Order, issued by respondent no. 1, bearing no. 96-DMRR&R of 2017 dated 13th November 2017. It is asserted that SRO425 dated 10th October 2017, whereby the Rules of 2009 have been amended violates the equality clause, bedrock of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution, by treating the Sikh Community staying in Kashmir Valley differently than the similarly placed Kashmiri Pandits, for the purposes of extending the Prime Minister’s Employment Package. In essence, the petitioners seek mandamus to respondents to treat them at par with Kashmiri Pandits, staying in Valley, for the purposes of providing the employment pursuant to the Prime Minister’s Package of Return and Rehabilitation.”

                                        Of course, it is then pointed out in para 2 that, “Before adverting to the grounds of challenge urged in support of the claim made in the writ petition, it would be pertinent to briefly narrate the factual background leading to issuance of the impugned SRO.”

                  In hindsight, it is then brought out in para 3 that, “It is a historical known fact that during the year 1990, there was a sudden spurt of militancy and terrorism in Kashmir Valley. There were stray instances of target killings of minority community (Kashmiri Pandits) and political workers. This led to scare in the minds of such people who feared for their life and honour in the wake of happenings which were taking place at the relevant point of time. The happenings created a sort of fear of psychosis and instilled strong sense of insecurity in the mind of aforesaid community. In the result, the Nation witnessed large scale exodus of Kashmiri Pandits along with the political workers from Kashmir Valley. This was unprecedented situation witnessed by the Nation. The condition in the Valley at the relevant point was such that no authority of the State could prevent such mass exodus. There are different versions on the reasons for such mass exodus of a particular community. Different political parties hold different views. The Court may not be concerned as to what were actual reasons of the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir Valley but at the same time is not oblivious to the plight and miseries that befell on these migrants. They had to leave their home and hearth and settle in camps in Jammu, New Delhi and various other places of the country, where they felt sense of security.”

                                 It cannot be lost on us that it is then further noted in para 4 that, “There can be no dispute that sufferings of all these Kashmiri Migrants, who had to leave their home and hearth in peculiar law and order situation in the State, were of high magnitude. The Government of India as also the Governments of various States came up with different measures of rehabilitation and provided relief and succor to these families by all possible means. Despite all efforts made by the Government of India at its level, there was no discernible improvement in the living standard of this migrant community. This led the Government of India to come up with a comprehensive package and policy of relief and rehabilitation in the year 2008. This package/policy was first announced by the then Prime Minister during his visit to the State on April 25-26, 2008. The package was meant to ameliorate the lot of Kashmiri Pandit Community, who had been forced to migrate from Kashmir Valley and to facilitate their return and rehabilitation. Apart from other incentives contained in the package formally announced in June 2008, it was also decided to provide the jobs to the educated among migrant youth in the State Government services and financial assistance (grant of loans to unemployed to help them engage in self-employment through vocational training. Accordingly, 3000 supernumerary posts were created in various Departments for providing employment to migrant youth who were willing to return and serve in Kashmir Valley. With a view to filling up these posts and providing employment exclusively to the unemployed youth from amongst the migrants, the Government came up with the Rules of 2009, which were notified by the Government vide SRO 412 dated 30th December 2009. These Rules, as is apparent from their recital, are statutory rules framed by the Governor under proviso to Section 124 of the Constitution of J&K. The supernumerary posts created under the Prime Minister’s package were, accordingly, filled up under the aforesaid Rules and the employment to several migrant youth, came to be provided.”         

                                   Going ahead, it is then elaborated in detail in para 5 stating that, “It appears that despite all efforts made by the Central Government and issuance of the employment package under the name of the Prime Minister’s package for relief and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Migrants, the things did not improve at the desired pace. This led the Government of India to do rethinking on the matter. With a view to going deep into the living conditions of the Kashmiri Migrants and to suggest better means and ways to improve upon their living standards, a Joint Parliamentary Committee was constituted, which submitted its 137th report on the rehabilitation of J&K Migrants. Apart from the general suggestions, various measures for improving the pitiable condition of migrants were suggested. The Committee, in its observations/conclusions/recommendations at serial no. 4.2, expressed its deep concern over the pathetic condition of about 4000 Kashmiri Pandits, living in Kashmir Valley. The Committee felt that there should be special budgetary provision for Kashmiri Pandits left behind in the Valley for fulfilling their genuine needs of the housing, employment/self-employment, for improving their living conditions. Subsequently, the Parliamentary Standing Committee of Home Affairs submitted its 179th report on the action taken by the Government on the recommendations/observations contained in 137th Report on rehabilitation of the J&K Migrants. The report elaborately deals with the action on different aspects but with regard to the condition of Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley. The Parliamentary Committee in paragraph 2.1.21 observed that a large number of Kashmiri Pandit families were living in Kashmir Valley in a pathetic condition. A  number of such families living in the Valley, was pegged at 600. The Committee, thus, recommended that courage of such Kashmiri Pandit families, who continued to reside in the Valley despite the adverse conditions, needed to be appreciated and they should be provided appropriate security and other facilities as may be required. It appears that in light of the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the rehabilitation of Kashmiri Migrants and also taking note of pathetic condition of Kashmir Pandit community, which had decided not to migrate because of many reasons as also to extend the Prime Minister’s Package of Return and Rehabilitation, the Government of India sanctioned additional 3000 government jobs for Kashmir Migrants vide its communication dated 4th December 2015. This package of employment was meant for all Kashmiri Migrants and the category of Kashmiri Pandits, who had not migrated from the Kashmir Valley during the terrorist violence, was first time included for the benefit of the aforesaid employment package. As is apparent from the aforesaid communication, the Government of India desired that while providing the jobs to the Kashmiri Pandit families under the package, preferably the formula of one job per family be adopted. This sanction of the additional package of employment prompted the Kashmiri Pandits residing in the Valley to approach this Court by way of OWP no. 1986/2013 titled Kashmiri Pandit Sangarsh Samiti and others v. Union of India and others. The petition was essentially filed to implement the package of incentive particularly in part pertaining to the benefit of jobs to be given to the Kashmiri Pandit families on the formula of one job per family. The petition was disposed of by this Court on 31st May 2016, with a direction to the respondents to consider the claim of the petitioners therein in accordance with the rules. The decision was directed to be taken within a period of six weeks from the date of receipt of copy of the order. It appears that the State Government did not move in the matter, which made the petitioners in the aforesaid petition to file a contempt petition, seeking implementation of the directions passed on 31st May 2016. The notice in the contempt appears to have waken the State from its slumber, which immediately came up with Government Order no. 58-DMRR&R of 2017 dated 29th July 2017, and created 3000 supernumerary posts in different departments. Since in the revised package of the employment and rehabilitation issued by the Government of India, the Kashmiri Pandit families residing in the Valley who had not migrated in the wake of onslaught of militancy in 1990, had also been included for the benefits, it was necessary for the Government to amend the Rules of 2009. It may be noted that under the Rules of 2009, as they then stood, the employment package was meant for all migrants, who had fled from the Valley leaving their home and hearth for settlement in safer places irrespective of their caste, community or religion. These migrants include the internally displaced persons as well, but this package of employment under Rules of 2009 was not available to the Kashmiri Pandit community, which had decided to stay back in the Valley despite the prevailing adverse security scenario and despite the fact that there was large scale exodus of their community from the Valley in the year 1990. The State Government, after going through the formal procedure, ultimately amended the rules of 2009 vide SRO 425 of 2017 dated 10th October 2017 and included such Kashmiri Pandit families also for the benefit under the Rules of 2009. Since the Government of India, while sanctioning the additional 3000 supernumerary posts, had indicated that for the purposes of providing the employment to Kashmiri Pandit families, preferably the formula of one job per family, should be adopted, as such, the State Government decided to set apart 500 posts for Kashmiri Pandit families to be filled up by a different committee, constituted vide Government Order no. 96-DMRR&R of 2017 dated 13th November 2017. A separate committee was necessitated as these posts could not have been filled up through J&K Services Selection Board, which is enjoined to make the selection on the basis of merit. It is worthwhile to notice that the State Government, instead of effecting appropriate amendment in the Rules of 2009, did so by executive fiat.”     

                                        In essence, it is then aptly stated in para 6 that, “From the sequence of events given hereinabove, it is clear that the amendment impugned has enured to the benefit of a particular community, i.e. Kashmiri Pandit community, which stayed back in the Valley despite adverse conditions. It does not make any provision for the petitioners’ community, which claims to have suffered in the similar manner and which like the Kashmiri Pandit families also decided to stay back and did not migrate from the Valley. This deprivation appears to have led to heartburning in the petitioners’ community. The petitioners feel that the State has ventured into class legislation and has treated persons in the same class differently. They claim that the similar benefit needs to be extended to them and the Rules of 2009 as amended vide SRO impugned are ultra vires the Constitution. It is in this background that the instant petition has been filed by the members of the Sikh community living in the Valley.”  

                      As a consequence, it is then pointed out in para 7 that, “The respondents have filed their reply and have explained the reasons for coming up with the special package of employment in favour of Kashmiri Pandit families staying in the Valley. Referring to some empirical data which respondents claim was analysed before grant of the package of employment to Kashmiri Pandit families, it is pleaded that the two communities, i.e. Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs living in the Valley do not form the same class and, therefore, classification made by the respondents for providing the benefit of employment to one person per family to the Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley is a valid classification and meets the requirement of Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution.”

                             More importantly, it is then pointed out in para 8 that, “Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley too have intervened in the matter and have filed a separate set of objections raising several issues with regard to maintainability of the petition. In short, they too have sought to justify the classification made by the respondents for the purposes of employment on the formula of one job per family to the Kashmiri Pandit families living in the Valley. In their objections they have relied upon the Parliamentary Standing Committee reports and other material to demonstrate that Kashmiri Pandit community which decided against migration and stayed back due to various reasons viz. economical, security or the assurances by the community in the neighbourhood etc, have suffered more than those who migrated from the Valley. The Parliamentary Standing Committee, which went deep into the matter has clearly highlighted the pitiable and pathetic condition of the Kashmiri Pandit community living in the Valley. It is, thus, pleaded that the decision to extend the special benefit of employment to the Kashmiri Pandit community was on the basis of the empirical data collected by the Government with regard to the living conditions of the Kashmiri Pandit community living in the Valley. It is, thus, pleaded that looking to the empirical data, it cannot be said that the Sikh Community, which stayed in the Valley and did not migrate, suffered in the same manner.”

                                        Having said this, let us now turn to para 23. It states that, “From reading of Rules of 2009, in their entirety, it is abundantly clear that the posts specially created from time to time in the Valley under the Prime Minister’s Special Package are meant to be filled up from ‘Migrants’ as defined in Rule 2(d). From the definition of migrant given in the Rules, it is evident that the benefit envisaged under the Rules is available to all migrants fulfilling the three conditions enumerated herein above irrespective of their caste, community or religion. The Rules of 2009 treats all migrants as a class and do not make any discrimination on any ground whatsoever.”

                                 Be it noted, what cannot be missed out here is that it is then added in para 24 stipulating that, “However, the amendment incorporated in the Rules of 2009, vide SRO 425 dated 10th October 2017, introduces a class of Kashmiri Pandits, who have not migrated from Kashmir Valley after 1st of November 1989, and are presently residing in Kashmir Valley. The Rules of 2009, which prior to amendment were called J&K Kashmiri Migrants (Special Drive) Recruitment Rules, 2009, now after amendment would be known as J&K Kashmiri Migrants or Kashmiri Pandits (Special Drive) Recruitment Rules 2009. The expression “Kashmiri Pandits” has been defined by inserting Clause (ca) after Clause © of Rule 2. Similarly, other necessary amendments have been made to give effect to the intendment of the amendment, which is to confer the similar benefit of the package of employment on Kashmiri Pandit community, who did not migrate during turmoil of 1989-90 and decided to stay back in the Valley. Interestingly, SRO 425 of 2017 does not make any amendment to the definition of post given in Rule 2 (c), which when read with Rule 3 would mean that amended Rules would apply to the posts which are sanctioned from time to time in the Valley under the Special Package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Migrants to the Valley, issued by the Prime Minister. It would also mean that the posts becoming available on account of supernumerary creation under the Prime Minister’s Special Package cannot be filled up otherwise than in accordance with the Rules of 2009 as amended vide SRO 425 of 2017."    

                                Enumerating on the various reasons why Kashmiri Pandits who did not migrate from Kashmir were given reservation, para 25 then goes on to elaborate stating rightly that, “From careful reading of the Rules of 2009 and amendments carried thereto vide SRO impugned in this petition, it is abundantly clear that a class different from the migrants has been created for conferring the benefit of the Prime Minister’s Package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Migrants. The class identified under the impugned SRO is a community of Kashmiri Pandits, who did not migrate in the wake of turmoil in the Valley and stayed back despite adverse conditions perceivably prevailing for their community. This classification has been necessitated pursuant to the several representations received for and on behalf of this community, which was living in a very pitiable and pathetic condition in the Valley. The Government of India also took note of the fact that these handful families had not migrated due to reasons of their poverty, economic conditions, a sense of security instilled in them by their supporting neighbourhood, etcetera, etcetera. They stayed back and braved the adverse conditions in the Valley, which seriously impacted growth of their families educationally and economically. Taking note of their plight and the persistent pitiable conditions, a policy decision was taken to confer the benefit of the Prime Minister’s Package of return and rehabilitation on this community as well. As noted above, this was not a hollow exercise by the Government of India. Not only it collected the relevant empirical data but also appointed a Standing Parliamentary Committee to go into all these aspects and make their recommendations. As is averred by the respondents in their affidavit that as per the records available with the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrant), Jammu, there are 15700 Hindu Relief families and 22062 Hindu Non-Relief families, consisting of 49859 souls and 82740 souls respectively. Besides there are 1336 Relief Sikh families and 353 Non-Relief Sikh families consisting of 5043 souls and 1502 souls respectively registered with the Relief Organisation. In the light of the aforesaid data placed on record, the respondents have pleaded that the effect of migration in the wake of turmoil in the Valley was more on the Kashmiri Pandit community than other communities. It is though conceded that handful of Sikh families too migrated from the Valley but majority decided to stay back and has been residing peacefully. It is on the basis of this empirical data and the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee constituted for the purpose that the Government appears to have taken a policy decision to extend some helping hand to this distressed Kashmiri Pandit community.”  

                                    Needless to say, para 25 makes it abundantly clear why Kashmiri Pandits who did not migrate from Kashmir Valley were given reservations. It also specifies why Sikhs were not given reservation. This was because majority of them did not migrate from Kashmir as opposed to majority of Kashmiri Pandits who had migrated from the Kashmir Valley! The stand taken by the Government was a well thought out decision which has to be appreciated and applauded! No wonder that Jammu and Kashmir High Court too endorsed it!

                                        Viewed from this perspective, there can be no gainsaying that para 26 then further goes on to explain stating that, “From the aforesaid discussion and in view of the stand taken by the respondents, it cannot be said that the Sikh Community is similarly placed with the Kashmiri Pandits. There appears to be intelligible differentia, which distinguishes Kashmiri Pandits, who have stayed back in the Valley and did not migrate when lakhs of their community members left their home and hearth in view of the then prevailing security scenario in the Valley. The classification clearly distinguishes Kashmiri Pandit community from Sikh Community living in the Valley, which has been left out of group. The classification based on intelligible differentia has a definite nexus with the object sought to be achieved by the Rules of 2009 as amended vide impugned SRO, and is meant to ameliorate the lot of Kashmiri Pandits who preferred to stay back and did not flee despite unsavoury security conditions in the Valley in the year 1989-90. The target killings of members of their community instilled sense of fear and insecurity in their minds, which made their living in the Valley possible only at the cost of their lives. This sense of insecurity was all pervasive. In the milieu, there were certain families who decided not to migrate either because they were poverty ridden or did not have resources to move out or that they were assured by the community in their neighbourhood not to be afraid of. Whatever be the reasons, they decided to stay back but suffered due to unsavoury and not too good conditions in the Valley for the community. As per 137th report of the Standing Parliamentary Committee, their condition continued to worsen. They lacked behind in education and fared very bad on the economic front. Taking into account all these factors and the historical background responsible for en masse exodus of the community, the Central Government decided to provide some relief and succor to these families of Kashmiri Pandits. It is in this background that a policy decision was taken by the Government to treat these families of Kashmiri Pandits, staying in the Valley, at par with the migrants for the purposes of providing the employment package. This necessitated the amendment in the Rules of 2009, so as to include Kashmiri Pandits, staying in the Valley, also as beneficiary of the Prime Minister’s Package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Migrants, issued from time to time.”

                        It is then underscored in this same para 26 that, “Viewed thus, it cannot be said, by any stretch of imagination or reasoning, that the classification made by the impugned SRO is not based on intelligible differentia or that differentia has no nexus with the object sought to be achieved. If the object of the Rules of 2009 is return and rehabilitation of migrants, it would make no sense if the same does not provide for rehabilitation of those who have not fled from the Valley despite adverse conditions and have stayed back.”

                                  Not stopping here, it is then held in para 27 that, “In view of the foregoing discussion, I find that the impugned SRO does not amount to class legislation but makes a valid classification which is permissible under Article 14 and 16 of the Constitution.” 

                                      It would be imperative to mention here that para 33 then envisages that, “Going by the aforesaid considerations, the respondents have carved out the classification on the parameters of data as well as the recommendation of Parliamentary Standing Committee. Such a decision is based on policy considerations. It cannot be said that this decision is manifestly arbitrary or unreasonable. It is settled law that policy decisions of the Executive are best left to it and a court cannot be propelled into the unchartered ocean of Government policy. [See: Bennett Coleman & Co. v. Union of India, 1972 (2) SCC 788]. Public authorities must have liberty and freedom in framing the policies. It is well accepted principle that in complex social, economic and commercial matters, decisions have to be taken by governmental authorities keeping in view the several factors and it is not possible for the Courts to consider the competing claims and to conclude which way the balance tilts. The Courts are ill-equipped to substitute their decisions. It is not within the realm of the Courts to go into the issue as to whether there could have been a better policy and on that parameters direct the Executive to formulate, change, vary and/or modify the policy which appears better to the Court. Such an exercise is impermissible in policy matters. The scope of judicial review is very limited in such matters. It is only when a particular policy decision is found to be against a Statute or it offends any of the provisions of the Constitution or it is manifestly arbitrary, capricious or mala fide, the Court would interfere with such policy decisions. No such case is made out. On the contrary, views of the petitioners have not only been considered but accommodated to the extent possible and permissible.”

                                      What’s more, it is then clarified in para 34 that, “The Court cannot sit in judgment over the wisdom of the policy evolved by the Legislature and the subordinate regulation-making body. It may be a wise policy which will fully effectuate the purpose of the enactment or it may be lacking in effectiveness and hence calling for revision and improvement. But any drawbacks in the policy incorporated in a rule or regulation will not render it ultra vires and the Court cannot strike it down on the ground that in its opinion, it is not a wise or prudent policy, but is even a foolish one, and that it will not really serve to effectuate the purposes of the Act. The Legislature and its delegate are the sole repositories of the power to decide what policy should be pursued in relation to matters covered by the Act and there is no scope for interference by the Court unless the particular provision impugned before it can be said to suffer from any legal infirmity, in the sense of its being wholly beyond the scope of the regulation-making power or its being inconsistent with any of the provisions of the parent enactment or in violation of any of the limitation imposed by this Constitution. Reference in this regard may be made to Maharashtra State Board of Writ Secondary Education v. Paritosh Bhupeshkumar Sheth, 1984 (4) SCC 27; and Federation Haj PTOs of India v. Union of India, 2019 SCC Online SC 119.”     

                                  To be sure, it is then reiterated in para 35 that, “I have already elaborately discussed all the aspects in detail herein above and reaffirm that the impugned SRO only makes a valid classification which falls within the scope and purview of Articles 14 and 16 of the Constitution of India. The impugned SRO is affirmative action and a policy decision on the part of the State to bring a particular community, staying in the Valley under peculiar circumstances, at par with their counterparts, so that they could compete and avail of the employment opportunities after they are brought in a position to compete with them. Having said that, I hold the amendment to the Rules of 2009 intra vires the Constitution.”

                                 Continuing in the same vein, it is then brought out in detail in para 36 that, “This brings me to the second question, which pertains to the competence of the Government to set apart 500 posts out of 3000 supernumerary posts created by the Government under the Prime Minister’s Package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Migrants. Although the issue was not well articulated and debated by the parties before this Court, yet while going through the records and appreciating their contentions, I have reached a conclusion that filling up of the posts as defined in Rule 2 (e) of the Rules of 2009 as amended vide impugned SRO, which are sanctioned by the State from time to time under the Prime Minister’s package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Migrants, is regulated by the Rules of 2009, which are statutory in character, having been issued by the Governor in exercise of the powers conferred by proviso to Section 124 of the Constitution of J&K. The SRO, as amended, makes a provision for Kashmiri Pandit community by treating them at par with the migrants and, therefore, takes care of their rehabilitation. It is equally true that the implementation of the Rules of 2009 as amended would pose some difficulty in allocating one job per family for this community of Kashmiri Pandits, staying in the Valley. In this background, perhaps, it was advisable on the part of the Government to take out 500 posts out of the Package to be appropriated for achieving the aforesaid end but that could have been done by adopting proper process countenanced by law. Needless to say, that the Government Order can supplement, but cannot supplant the Statutory Rules and, therefore, without effecting appropriate amendment in the Rules and providing for a separate allocation of posts for Kashmiri Pandits, the respondents could not have set apart 500 posts to be filled up in the manner provided in the impugned Government order. If the Government Order impugned is allowed to stand, it would mean that not only Kashmiri Pandit community would be entitled to one job per family to be provided by the Government from out of 500 posts created under the Prime Minister’s Package and set apart for the purpose, but it would also entitle them to compete with other migrants for rest of 2500 posts under the Rules of 2009. I am sure this is not intended by the Government.”     

                                    Needless to add, it is then stated in para 37 that, “In view of the aforesaid, I do not find the impugned Government Order no. 96-DMRR&R of 2017 dated 13th November 2017 sustainable in law, for the same has the effect of modifying the Statutory Rules which is impermissible. All the posts created in pursuance to the Prime Minister’s Package for Return and Rehabilitation are required to be filled up as per the Rules of 2009 and in no other manner.”

                         Finally, it is then held in para 38 that, “In view of the aforesaid analysis, I find no merit in the petition so far as challenge to the vires of SRO 425 dated 10th October 2017 is concerned and the same is accordingly, rejected. However, the impugned Government Order no. 96-DMRR&R of 2017 dated 13th November 2017 is held unsustainable in law and is accordingly quashed. The respondents may proceed in the matter in accordance with law.”

                                   All said and done, it is a comforting, commendable and courageous decision which clearly takes into account the unpardonable trauma and innumerable sufferings faced by those Kashmiri Pandits who inspite of being subjected to repeated harassment still refused to shun their homes and courageously face the situation! This alone explains why it upheld PM’s Employment Package (2009) for Kashmiri Pandits living in the Valley! Very rightly so! A majority of Sikhs preferred to stay back in Kashmir Valley in 1989-90 and therefore the Jammu and Kashmir High Court very rightly refused to accord them the same position which was accorded to those hapless Kashmiri Pandits who decided not to leave the Kashmir Valley even though a majority of them decided to shift to other places!   

Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,

s/o Col BPS Sirohi,

A 82, Defence Enclave,

Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,

Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh. 

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