December 2016 News

Divided On Sarfaesi Act, Kashmir Bar May Not Support Separatists' Stir On SC Verdict

19 December 2016
State Times
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz

Jammu: Notwithstanding a barrage of statements from both, the separatist as well as the mainstream opposition leaders in Kashmir valley against the Supreme Court of India verdict, Srinagar-based High Court Bar Association (HCBA) seems to be unlikely to take a stand on enforcement of the Central law giving powers to banks and other financial institutions to auction the mortgaged immovable properties of the defaulting borrowers in Jammu and Kashmir. Even as some of its top functionaries, while responding to newspersons' queries, have maintained what they argued as private counsels previously in J&K High Court, HCBA significantly had not issued any statement in support of the separatists till late on Monday. Announced on December 16, the judgment of the Supreme Court judges Kurian Joseph and R.F. Nariman, has stirred a hornets nest in Jammu and Kashmir as it has been firmly hailed by Jammu-based political parties, including BJP and National Panthers Party, but stoutly assailed by almost all the separatist and mainstream parties, including Omar Abdullah's National Conference (NC). While granting the financial institutions right to auction the mortgaged immovable properties of the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir in the event of their failure to pay back the loans, the Supreme Court has categorically set aside a judgment of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court that had barred the banks from proceeding against the defaulters under the central law titled Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002, (SARFAESI) in the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The legal battle in JKHC had witnessed a drama of sorts including sudden resignation of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government's Advocate General Riyaz Ahmad Jan in the thick of the arguments on June 25 - within 100 days of his appointment on March 15, 2015. Legal circles insist that Jan -who asserted that the Mufti government had compromised dignity of the AG's office but never elaborated- wanted to oppose enforcement of the Sarfaesi Act but was 'under pressure' from the PDP-BJP coalition to remain equivocal and borrow time. The opposition politicians, as well as the independent writers, have invariably attached intrigue to the Mehbooba Mufti government's 'lackadaisical attitude' while pointing out that no eminent lawyer appeared in Supreme Court to defend the State's exclusive right of legislation on matters of immovable property. The entire job was left to the State's standing counsel. Even the Advocate General and the senior AAGs played truant. On the other hand, Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi joined by eminent lawyer Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing on behalf of State Bank of India and the Government of India, defended the different banks' notices to the defaulters and enforcement of Sarfaesi Act in J&K. The judges decreed in their favour, asserting that J&K Sate had a special constitutional status but did not enjoy any sovereignity.