Srinagar, Oct 06: In a significant development, a Srinagar court has issued a stay order on the upcoming Kashmir Traders & Manufacturers Federation (KTMF) elections in response to a lawsuit filed by Qazi Tauseef, Executive Council member of KTMF and President Munawarabad Traders Association.
The lawsuit challenges the age restrictions imposed on candidates in the election, arguing that these restrictions are unconstitutional and discriminatory. The election by-law, which imposes age restrictions on candidates’ has come under scrutiny as many youth members of KTMF have sought to participate in the electoral process.
The Court of 3rd Additional Munsiff Srinagar presided over by Moneer Ahmad observed “Court directs respondents to consider the claim/representation of Plaintiff qua the relaxation of age bar till then the respondents shall not proceed ahead with the election proceedings”.
Qazi Tauseef, a member of the business community, initiated this legal action in a bid to dismantle what they see as a barrier to fair participation in the democratic process. “The age restrictions outlined in the election bylaws, have been a subject of controversy as they prevent individuals below a certain age from running for office. Allowing younger members to run for elections can inject fresh perspectives, innovative ideas and energy into the organization, which is vital for its long-term vitality of the trade and commerce in the J&K in general and KTMF in particular”, Qazi observed.
“Restricting candidacy based on age solely is discriminatory, specifically for the reason that no election process of whatsoever nature in the entire country carries such an arbitrary condition. Even a person of age 18 plus is entitled to participate in the elections for running the country yet the current condition in the constitution of the KTMF bars participation in its Supreme Council”, he said as per GNS.
The court’s decision to grant a stay on the election comes as a momentous development in the midst of an already closely watched electoral process. The election, originally scheduled for 08 October is now put on hold pending further legal proceedings. Legal experts anticipate that this case could set a precedent for business organisation’s electoral bylaws in J&K and potentially impact people seated there unconstitutionally for decades together.