On Monday (November 9 2020), the J&K administration demanded clarification from the Kashmir High Court Bar Association (KHCBA) on "whether it considers J&K to be an integral part of Indian territory or a disputed territory", as it was preparing to hold the previously deferred bar elections on 10 November.
“We have received a correspondence from the Authority seeking the opinion of the Bar on the point of view held by it as to whether J&K is a disputed or integral part of India. The communication comes just a day ahead of the Bar polls in Kashmir,” Mudasir Gulzar Vakil, secretary of the Election Commission, J&K High Court Bar Association, told The Hindu.
According to the constitution of the Association, the purpose of the body is "to find ways and means to take measures to address public problems, including the wider question of peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute." The Bar had previously proposed a trilateral dialogue between India, Pakistan, and the J&K people.
The District Magistrate, Srinagar, sought the Bar's clarification of its constitution, saying "it (the stance) is not in line with the Indian Constitution, whereby J&K is an integral part of the country and not a conflict."
Details of the certificate issued by the competent authority where the J&K High Court Bar Association was registered as an association and its validity were also sought by the court.
This topic will be addressed at length and the administration will be presented with an answer. Mr. Vakil said, "We fear this could be a ploy not to allow the Bar polls."
On October 5 this year, after the administration's apprehension of the COVID-19 pandemic, the KHCBA, a body of over 1,200 lawyers, postponed its elections.
“We were planning to hold the polls from November 10 in a phased manner, where just 30 to 50 lawyers would have voted in a staggered fashion and as per the COVID-19 protocols,” Mr. Vakil said.