RTI Movement demands action against amicus curiae in Gulmarg PIL

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J&K RTI Movement has filed a complaint in the Jammu & Kashmir High Court against a lawyer serving as amicus curiae in the PIL pertaining to environmental and revenue matters of the popular tourist destination Gulmarg in north Kashmir.

The complaint against Aijaz Chisthi has been filed on the ground that “the lawyer despite being the amicus curiae in the PIL has represented private parties by filing applications on their behalf which indicates a clear conflict of interest and a serious impediment in the administration of justice”.

The PIL is titled Mohammad Rafiq Zargar Vs State of J&K (PIL No. 14/2012).

In its complaint, the J&K RTI Movement has said the lawyer has filed applications on behalf of persons who have been implicated in cases of illegalities of grabbing the government land.

“He (Aijaz CHisthi) has filed applications including MP No. 03/2018 on behalf of Nisar Ahmed Bhat and another application under IA No. 01/2019 (in CRMC No. 90/2017) on behalf of Abdul Ahad Ganai, both of whom have been implicated in cases of illegalities involving forgery/ fraud to grab state land in a Crime Branch investigation,” reads the complaint.

“Further, a report of the Crime Branch in a complaint [PV(K)140/15] filed against the members of the land mafia confirms that the clients of Mr Aijaz Chisthi have encroached state land and have gone to the extent of tampering official government record including revenue record,” it adds.

The RTI Movement said the High Court had previously ordered the authorities to register FIR against these individuals and file compliance report.

“Despite being aware of the illegal activities of his clients, the lawyer has not only chosen to remain silent during the proceedings of the multiple applications (MPs No. 991/2015, 11/2017 & 5580/2019) filed under different names/titles to mislead the court but has, in fact, abetted the concealment of facts and misrepresentations by the accused implicated in the Crime Branch investigation,” it said. “Despite being appointed as the amicus curiae, he (Aijaz Chisthi) has been representing and guiding members of the land mafia who are private parties in several applications made in the PIL.”

Mohammad Tuyyab, a legal intern at the J&K RTI Movement, told Kashmir Walla that the complainants appeared before the Division Bench headed by the Chief Justice today – the date of hearing – and demanded action against the lawyer.

He said the complainants were informed by the court that a committee has already been constituted to look into such complaints.

However, after insistence by the complainants, Tuyyab said, the court directed them to file a copy of the complaint with the Reader and assured that action would be taken.

“The complainants have demanded that the lawyer be immediately suspended from rendering his services as amicus curiae and that strict disciplinary action is taken against him, including the cancellation of his license,” Tuyyab said.

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