New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a PIL seeking to declare as "unconstitutional and illegal" the alleged release of government funds to Jammu and Kashmir-based separatists, saying the issue was within the exclusive domain of the Centre.
The court also castigated the lawyer, who had moved the PIL, for calling Hurriyat Conference leaders "separatists" saying it was a matter of perception.
"We are of the considered opinion that the grant of funds to the state of Jammu and Kashmir for the purposes of security or otherwise is within the exclusive domain of the Central Government. In a matter like this, we are of the considered opinion that a public interest litigation does not deserve to be entertained and, therefore, we are not inclined to interfere."
"That apart, needless to emphasise, it is not a judicially manageable proceeding and the Court should refrain from entering into the said area. The writ petition is accordingly dismissed," a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said.
The bench, also comprising Justice UU Lalit, expressed reservation on petitioner lawyer ML Sharma terming Hurriyat leaders as "separatists", and said "it's a matter of perception. Has the government declared them separatists? The conduct of a man may not be to the liking of others and they call him separatist, but you can't use that term in court".
The bench expressed further displeasure when Sharma said that "politicians are promoting terrorism."
"You cannot use such words in court. You cannot brand everyone like this unless someone is convicted. You can't just generalise everyone. This language cannot be used in court," the bench said while warning the advocate.
The PIL had claimed that more than Rs 300 crore was spent on the separatists on their stay at hotels, security and other expenses by the government, misusing the money.
Sharma claimed that the issue was a "big threat to the society" and only the judiciary could protect the country.
To this, the apex court said the judiciary cannot examine what funds are given to whom when it comes to managing the situation in a state like Jammu and Kashmir.
"Judiciary can only protect the constitutional provisions and values. Army and police are there to protect from any kind of threat. It should be left to the executive to decide what is best for the country," the bench said.
When the petitioner pointed to the security cover given to Hurriyat leaders at the exchequer's expense, the bench said any security cover given by a government to a citizen who faces threats, is completely within the domain of the executive.
"Everyone must understand. In issues like this, courts have a nominal role. Who shall be provided security and what security or not is the power of the executive. National security is the job of the Centre and the Army. They will do whatever is best for the country," the court said.
The bench reminded the advocate that the concept of PIL was not conceived for these purposes. It was done to deal with issues like environment, encroachment and with the passage of time, it also included issues like corruption.
Sharma had also sought a CBI inquiry into the alleged disbursement of government funds to the Hurriyat leaders.
"Declare the impugned release of fund from Consolidated Fund of India, without authority and valid permission for supporting separatist group for working against the country, as unconstitutional, illegal and amount to criminal breach of trust attracting section 409 of the IPC...," the plea said.
The PIL, which has made Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Jammu and Kashmir government and CBI as parties, had alleged that an offence of corruption for misusing of public office and funds has been made out in the case.
It has also sought a direction to the MHA and the state government asking them not to "release/provide" any fund either from "the Consolidated Fund of India or state treasury" under any "head or object".