Srinagar admin puts hold on Kashmir Press Club re-registration

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Kashmir Press Club (KPC) – the premier representative body of the journalist in Kashmir – is in a tight spot as authorities in the region have put re-registration of the Club into abeyance following directions from Srinagar district authorities on Friday.

The management body of the Club on Thursday via a statement to media informed the re-registration under Society Registration Act 1860 has been completed and said the election would be held on 15 February 2022 to form a new representative body.

The elections of the KPC were due in July 2021 as the term of the previous executive committee ended on July 14 after completing its two-year term. The KPC has since then been without a representative body. 

Last month re-registration of the club was granted by the Registrar of Societies and Firms under registration no.7427 of 2021-S of 2021 on 29 December 2021 that had cleared the way for elections to form a new representative body.

“Registration… of Kashmir Press Club has been granted in light of administrative department’s letter number IND/DIC – 169/2007 dated 19.04.2021 and on the basis of the report w.r.t (with regard to) non-involvement /verification of character and antecedents as received from Additional District Magistrate Srinagar vide certificate number Dms/Jud/Soc/21/742 dated 24.12.2021,” the letter read.

A day after re-registration was announced to media, a letter was shot to District Magistrate Srinagar by three journalists in Kashmir – Arshid Rasool, editor of Gadyal, Farooq Wani, editor of Brighter Kashmir and Shafat Kira, editor Vision – saying that since the KPC is without a representative body they have “decided to have an interim body of nine executive members which will look after the day-to-day affairs and also take care of other allied matters of the Kashmir press club till elections are held”. 

They said, “since KPC has been without any legal executive body for last six months which has landed the Kashmir press club in mess, it is, therefore, requested to intervene in the matter as District Magistrate to set the things right in the Kashmir press club in an attempt to sustain, revive the club.

In the letter, it was also said that the previous executive body attempted to seek the renewal of the registration of the said club under the new Societies Act  and claimed that it was refused by the Registrar of Societies “as the constitution or Memorandum of Association  of the club barred them for making any presentation before any authority or to apply for the renewal of the registration as   they  cease to continue as the executive members of the Kashmir press club.” 

However, the club management in a statement issued to media said that it was legally bound and also had the mandate of the majority of its members to safeguard the interests of the Kashmir Press Club when it applied for re-registration following due course of law”. 

On Friday an order from the Registrar of societies ordered that re-registration granted under number 7427 – S of 2021 is hereby kept in abeyance till the receipt of the final report from ADM Srinagar. 

The order reads, “whereas, this office has received order no  DMS/Jud/Soc/784-785/22 dated 05.01.2021 issued by the Additional District Magistrate Srinagar wherein inter-alia, it has been informed that the non-involvement/ verification of character and antecedents issued vide certificate number Dms/Jud/Soc/21/742 dated 24.12.2021 in respect of members of Managing body of Kashmir Press Club (Awam-e-Sahafat) 9 HB polo view Srinagar has been kept on hold, on the basis of a report received from SSP CID (Hqrs) (Senior Superintendent of Police, Criminal Investigation Department) for SPI DG, CID, J&K vide no. Cid/Nic/Soc/21/0082/000119 (II) dated 30.12.2021”.

The order has come as a surprise for many journalists in the region as the decision may result in keeping the club without a representative body for an unspecified time.

The KPC management termed putting re-registration into abeyance as “unfortunate” and said, “it has advertently stalled the election process for the new body that was set in motion”. 

The club has called a meeting of its management body as well as the Executive Committee members on Saturday.

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