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High Court: All Kashmiri Hindus are not Kashmiri Pandits

Last Updated on September 15, 2021 at 4:41 pm

High Court of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh in an important verdict ruled that all Kashmiri Hindus are not Kashmir Pandits and declined to accept other ‘Hindus’ as Kashmiri Pandits.

Justice Sanjeev Kumar said that it cannot be denied that Kashmiri Pandit is a community of Kashmiri speaking Brahmins living in the valley from generations and are identified by their customs and traditions.

“Kashmiri Pandits is distinct from other Hindus residing in the Valley like Rajputs, Brahmins other than Kashmiri Pandits, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and many others,” said Justice Sanjeev Kumar while dismissing a petition seeking appointments against the quota of jobs provided for Kashmiri non-migrant Pandits under the Prime Minister’s Package.

“It is, thus, difficult to accept the contention of the petitioners, who are mostly Kshatriyas, Rajputs, Scheduled Caste non- Kashmiri Brahmins, etc, to be treated as Kashmiri Pandits and admitted to the benefits of Prime Minister’s revised package for return and rehabilitation of Kashmiri migrants given effect to by the Rules of 2009 read with SRO 425 of 2017,” the court recorded.

Justice Sanjeev Kumar while pronouncing the judgement said, “I regret my inability to accept such a broad definition of “Kashmiri Pandits” which under SRO 425 of 2017 is defined. What is, however, defined in Rule 2(ca), the term “’Kashmiri Pandit’ means a person belonging to Kashmiri Pandit family, who has not migrated from Kashmir after 1st of November, 1989 and is presently residing in Kashmir Valley”.

The judge noted that on the same set of principles and laws, a plea filed by Sikh community seeking the same benefits under the Prime Minister’s Scheme was dismissed earlier by the court.

This Court vides its judgment dated 14.02.2019 had rejected the contention of petitioner Sikh community that SRO 425 dated 10th October 2017 was ultra vires.