Srinagar, Sept 15: Days after Jammu and Kashmir High Court banned sale of beef, the state government has shunted out Additional Advocate General Vishal Sharma apparently for "failing to defend" its stand on the matter before the court.
Secretary, Department of Law, Mohammad Ashraf Mir said Sharma has been transferred to Education Department and it was a "normal" procedure. "Yes, he (Sharma) has been transferred. But it is a normal administrative procedure," Mir said.
Sources said the "Law Ministry yesterday ordered Sharma's removal from Home Department and asked him to now deal with cases of the School Education and Rural Development departments in the High Court."
They said the Law Ministry has taken strong note of Sharma's "total failure" in defending government's position in the High Court during the hearing on a petition seeking ban on sale and consumption of beef in the state.
However, Mir said Sharma's transfer had "nothing to do" with the beef ban case. When contacted, Vishal Sharma said that he is yet to receive any communication from the government.
Hearing the petition, Jammu and Kashmir High Court last week directed the police to ensure that there is no sale of beef anywhere in the state and that strict action is taken against those who violate the law.
The sources claimed Sharma "had not informed the State Home Department as well as Divisional Commissioner Kashmir on filing of reply in the case".
The judgement evoked widespread criticism in the state, with religious and separatist groups terming it as a "direct interference in religious affairs of Muslims of Jammu and Kashmir".