Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul issued a separate order on Monday, directing the establishment of a 'Truth and Reconciliation Commission' to investigate human rights violations by both State and non-state entities in the region's history along with the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the constitutional validity of the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 unanimously, which marked the end of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Justice Kaul emphasized the importance of healing wounds and addressing inter-generational trauma by acknowledging past violations committed by the State and its actors. He stated, "Truth-telling paves a way for reconciliation," underscoring the need for transparency and accountability.
"I recommend the setting up of an impartial Truth and Reconciliation committee to investigate and report on the violations of human rights both by the State and non-state actors at least since 1980s and recommend measures for reconciliation," Justice Kaul urged.
He stressed the urgency of establishing the commission before memories fade, advocating for a time-bound exercise. Justice Kaul highlighted the pervasive sense of distrust among the youth and expressed a responsibility to address it.
Cautioning against the commission becoming a criminal court, Justice Kaul stated, "It is for the government to decide the manner in which the Truth and Reconciliation Commission must be set up, considering the sensitivities of the issues involved. The Commission must not turn into a criminal court and must be offering a platform for dialogue."
Drawing inspiration from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, Justice Kaul suggested that such a commission could facilitate a reparative approach, enabling forgiveness for past wounds and forming the basis for a shared national identity.
In addition to these directives, the Supreme Court has instructed the Election Commission of India to conduct elections to the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir by September 30, 2024.