Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed the Pulwama deputy commissioner to administer the oath of office as a DDC member to terror-accused PDP youth leader Waheed ur Rehman Parra, provided there are no legal restrictions envisaged under the Panchayati Raj Act.
Parra could not take the oath after being elected as a district development council (DDC) member in December 2020 following his arrest in two terror-related cases. He is presently on bail in both cases and has moved the high court for taking the oath.
“This court deems it appropriate to observe that in case if there is no legal restriction/prohibition envisaged under the Panchayati Raj Act, 1989 read with Panchayati Raj Rules 1996 in administering the oath of office to the petitioner by the Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama, then the Deputy Commissioner, Pulwama shall not default in carrying out the statutory duty of administering oath of office to the petitioner notwithstanding the pendency of the present writ petition,” high court judge justice Rahul Bharti said in his order.
Parra, in his petition, had said the election entitles him to take the oath of office for which the deputy commissioner, Pulwama, who is the chief executing officer of the Pulwama DDC, has to invite him for the needful purpose.
“When the petitioner, no doubt, is facing trial in two FIRs, but is on bail in both the cases and, as such, is enjoying his legal liberty,” the court said, quoting the argument of the counsel for the petitioner that Parra’s implication in the two criminal cases does not denude him of his entitlement to join the office as an elected member of the DDC, Pulwama.
Parra was arrested in a criminal case on January 17, 2021, for alleged commission of offence under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the Arms Act and the Explosive Substances Act. Accordingly, he could not volunteer himself for the purpose of calling upon the deputy commissioner, Pulwama for the purpose of his oath taking as an elected Pulwama DDC member.
Parra was granted bail by the special NIA court on January 9, 2022, but was not released and was booked in another case registered at police station, Counter-Intelligence Kashmir, Srinagar under various sections of the U(A)PA and the Indian Penal Code. However, he again secured his bail in terms of an appeal before the division bench of the high court and the bail was granted to him on May 25, 2022.
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