New Delhi: The Narendra Modi government has decided to notify the appointment of Srinagar-based lawyer Javed Iqbal Wani, son-in-law of prominent separatist Mian Abdul Qayoom, as a judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
Sources in J&K High Court told ThePrint that the Union Ministry of Law and Justice has written to the high court’s registry, seeking details about Wani so that his warrant of appointment can be issued. Barring any last-minute changes, Wani’s appointment is likely to be notified early next week.
Wani’s name was recommended for judgeship by the J&K High Court collegium in March last year, along with three others — Rajnesh Oswal, Rahul Bharti and Moksha Kazmi-Khajuria.
The Modi government had later red-flagged Wani’s elevation after the Intelligence Bureau, in its report on the lawyer, pointed out that Qayoom was close to top Kashmiri separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and also provided legal assistance to separatists.
Qayoom, president of the Kashmir Bar Association, is also among the founding members of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. He was detained last year under the Public Safety Act.
While Wani’s judgeship has been finalised, the central government is still not inclined to process the appointment of Kazmi-Khajuria, whose husband Yasir Sayeed Kazmi is perceived to be close to leaders of Mehbooba Mufti’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Who is Javed Iqbal Wani?
Wani’s father-in-law Qayoom has been in the cross-hairs of law enforcement agencies, including the National Investigation Agency (NIA), for his alleged links with anti-India elements operating in J&K. He has regularly appeared as a lawyer for separatists arrested for anti-India activities.
But nothing adverse has been pointed out about Wani by the intelligence agencies, except his relationship to Qayoom through his marriage to the latter’s daughter.
While the Modi government had earlier said that Wani’s elevation could be against the national interest, sources in the apex court had earlier told ThePrint that the intelligence report didn’t have any input to establish that the lawyer shared his father-in-law’s ideology.
Incidentally, Wani has regularly represented the government in various high profile cases, including the Pathribal fake encounter case.
Woman lawyer’s elevation still not cleared
On 15 October last year, the Supreme Court collegium had overruled the Modi government’s objections to appoint Kazmi-Khajuria as a judge in the J&K High Court.
Kazmi-Khajuria, a Hindu from Jammu, had converted to Islam to marry Yasir Sayeed, a businessman living in Barzulla, Srinagar.
Apart from questions about rise in her income and competence as a lawyer, the central government had also opposed the candidature since her businessman-husband was perceived to be close to leaders of the PDP.
The central government is yet to process her nomination.