New Delhi, Sept. 16: The Supreme Court today said that Jammu and Kashmir, despite its special status under the Constitution, cannot discriminate among security personnel by awarding lower compensation to the families of those who come from outside the state and die fighting militancy.
The court wondered whether the state government could tackle the militant threat without the aid of security personnel from other parts of India.
The observations came while the bench of Chief Justice P. Sathasivam and Ranjana Prakash Desai was hearing a J&K politician’s application challenging the discriminatory policy.
Expressing displeasure at the affidavit filed by state additional secretary Feroze Ahmed Sheik, the court directed him to submit a fresh one and set the next hearing for Thursday.
“You may be having a separate Constitution and status, but you cannot discriminate among the people. After all they (security personnel from outside) are sacrificing their lives in your state. Without them can you solve the crisis? They come from different parts… but you can’t discriminate,” Justice Sathasivam said.
The state’s affidavit said the next of kin of J&K police personnel who die fighting militancy are paid Rs 7 lakh by the state in addition to the Rs 3 lakh sent by the Centre.
The families of central forces personnel who are permanent residents of J&K receive Rs 5 lakh from the state in addition to Rs 15 lakh from the Centre.
However, the families of central forces personnel who are not permanent J&K residents are paid Rs 2 lakh by the state (in addition to the central aid of Rs 15 lakh).
The state cited its special status. “In any event, since ex gratia payments are made by way of discretionary relief, no legally enforceable right is vested in any beneficiary to claim identical treatment with another,” its affidavit said.