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Ministry of Home Affairs has issued orders to suspend the LoC trade in Jammu & Kashmir w.e.f 19-04-2019. This action has been taken as the Government of India has been receiving reports that the Cross LoC trade routes are being misused by the Pakistan based elements for funneling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency, etc.

It may be recalled that the LoC trade is meant to facilitate the exchange of goods of common use between local populations across the LoC in Jammu & Kashmir. The trade is allowed through two Trade Facilitation Centres located at Salamabad, Uri, District Baramulla and Chakkan-da-Bagh, District Poonch. The trade takes place four days a week. Trade is based on the Barter system and zero duty basis.

However, reports have been received that the LoC trade is being misused on a very large scale. It has been revealed that the trade has changed its character to mostly third party trade and products from other regions, including foreign countries, are finding their way through this route. Unscrupulous and anti-national elements are using the route as a conduit for Hawala money, drugs and weapons, under the garb of this trade.

During the ongoing investigations of certain cases by NIA, it has been brought out that a significant number of trading concerns engaged in LoC trade are being operated by persons closely associated with banned terrorist organizations involved in fuelling terrorism/separatism. Investigations have further revealed that some individuals, who have crossed over to Pakistan and joined militant organizations have opened trading firms in Pakistan. These trading firms are under the control of militant organizations and are engaged in LoC trade.

After the Pulwama incident, the Government of India has withdrawn the MFN status to Pakistan. Inputs have also been received that in order to evade the consequent higher duty, LoC trade is likely to be misused to a much larger extent.

It has, therefore, been decided by the Government of India to suspend the LoC trade at Salamabad and Chakkan-da-Bagh in Jammu and Kashmir with immediate effect. Meanwhile, a stricter regulatory & enforcement mechanism is being worked out and will be put in place in consultation with various agencies. The issue of reopening of LoC trade will be revisited thereafter.

[Dated: 18-04-2019]

Ministry of Home Affairs

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The head of a prominent organisation allegedly indulging in anti-national activities along with his associates were covered in a sensitive search action by the Income Tax Department on 27-02-2019. Search action has been conducted at 4 premises in the Valley and 3 in the national capital. The search action has yielded credible evidence of large scale undisclosed financial transactions carried out in the business of quarrying, hotels etc.

During the search, clinching evidence was also unearthed of huge unaccounted expenditure having been incurred in cash on the reconstruction and remodeling of the residential premises presently being used by the tax evader’s family. Despite carrying out large scale financial transactions, neither the main protagonist nor any member of his family has ever filed an income tax return. The evidence found in search action is robust enough to show a deliberate and willful attempt to evade tax.

In the search action, 3 hard discs have also been seized. The analysis of the information contained in the discs is likely to yield even more substantial evidence against the tax evader and his associates. This action is part of a concerted drive to trace illegal sources of funding that have financed the separatist elements and their activities in the Valley.

[Press Release dt. 27-02-2019]

Ministry of Finance

Case BriefsHigh Courts

High Court of Jammu and Kashmir: A division bench comprising of Badar Durrez Ahmed, CJ., and Dhiraj Singh Thakur, J., recently dealt with a petition wherein the counsel for the petitioner approached the Court to discuss the issue of child abuse and frame directions to prevent it particularly in schools. He suggested that an officer be designated to each school, who is sensitized to these issues such as the lack of awareness amongst children, how children usually suffer in silence and knows how to deal with the issues.

The Court accepted the suggestions made by the petitioner and held that since no such action had been taken by the respondents to create awareness and appoint teachers as well as install helpline numbers for children to report abuse cases and for that purpose set up an appropriate Social Welfare Department that would prescribe a manner of creating awareness in schools regarding child abuse. [Shivan Mahajan v. State of J&K,  2018 SCC OnLine J&K 56, order dated 9.2.2018]

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Supreme Court: The bench of JS Khehar, CJ and AK Goel and Dr. DY Chandrachud, JJ issued notice to the Centre seeking it’s response on the validity of the special status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution.

As per the petitioner Kumari Vijayalakshmi Jha, Article 370 of the Constitution had lapsed automatically with the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir on January 26, 1957. The plea also urged to declare the separate Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir as invalid. The petitioner approached the Supreme Court after her plea was dismissed by the Delhi High Court last year.

Source: ANI