SRINAGAR: Observing that Hurriyat Conference leaders are not terrorists, the Indian Supreme Court Wednesday week declined to entertain a PIL for stopping official funds to separatists/terrorists and their organisations in Jammu and Kashmir.

A bench comprising Justices Dipak Misra and UU Lalit told petitioner Manohar Lal Sharma that it was he who was calling the beneficiaries as separatists, not the government, when petitioner pleaded for stopping funds for separatists

Dismissing the PIL, the bench in a brief order said, “We are of the considered opinion that the grant of funds to the state of Jammu and Kashmir for the purposes of security or otherwise is within the exclusive domain of the Central Government.”

The bench took exception to the petitioner using the term “terrorists” to describe the various groups in Jammu and Kashmir. “Unless somebody is arrested or convicted for a terror offence, you cannot brand them terrorists. We will not tolerate that in this court,” the bench told Sharma.

Dismissing the PIL filed by Manohar Lal Sharma, the bench also said, “In a matter like this, we are of the considered opinion that public interest litigation does not deserve to be entertained and, therefore, we are not inclined to interfere. That apart, needless to emphasise, it is not a judicially manageable proceeding and the Court should refrain from entering into the area.”

Sharma had questioned the state and Central government’s spending huge amounts on separatists by meeting their travel and medical expenses and providing security to them. He had sought criminal proceedings against authorities for promoting terrorism and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

He had also pleaded for a CBI probe into the reported release of `950 crore to such anti-national persons by the Centre and the state government in the past five years. The government had spent `21 crore on their stay in luxury hotels and `26.43 crore on their travel, he said, citing official data and media reports.

The bench told the petitioner: “What is to be done for the security of the nation is best left to the Executive and the Army. Let it be noted that in sensitive issues like these courts have a minimum role.”