NEW DELHI – The Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, on Monday referred a bunch of petitions relating to the validity of the Centre’s move to revoke Article 370 to another Constitution Bench saying that it has no time due to the regular hearing in the Ayodhya dispute case.
Chief Justice Gogoi said that the bench did not have the time to hear so many matters as at present a Constitution bench headed by him is hearing case related to the Ayodhya dispute issue.
Thereafter, the bench headed by Chief Justice Gogoi referred the pleas to the Constitution Bench.
Several petitions have been filed challenging the Centre’s decision abrogating Article 370 provisions and bifurcating the state into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. The UTs will come into being on October 31.
The Petitions have been filed by the National Conference, the Sajad Lone-led JK Peoples Conference and several other individuals, including the first plea filed by advocate M L Sharma.
The NC plea was filed by Lok Sabha MPs Mohammad Akbar Lone and Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi.
Lone is a former speaker of the J&K Assembly and justice Masoodi a retired judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. In 2015, he had ruled that Article 370 was a permanent feature of the Constitution.
Other pleas include the one filed by a group of former defence officers and bureaucrats. They have also sought directions declaring the presidential orders of August 5 “unconstitutional, void and inoperative”.
It was filed by professor Radha Kumar, a former member of the Home Ministry’s Group of Interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir (2010-11), former IAS officer of J&K cadre Hindal Haidar Tyabji, Air Vice Marshal (retd) Kapil Kak, Major General (retd) Ashok Kumar Mehta, former Punjab-cadre IAS officer Amitabha Pande and former Kerala-cadre IAS officer Gopal Pillai, who retired as the Union home secretary in 2011.
A petition has also been filed by bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal, along with his party colleague and former Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union (JNUSU) leader Shehla Rashid.
The pleas have also been filed by Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, CPI-M leader Sitaram Yechury, child rights activist Enakshi Ganguly, Executive Editor of the Kashmir Times Anuradha Bhasin, Doctor Sameer Kaul and Asifa Mubeen, wife of Malaysia-based NRI businessman Dr Mubeen Shah.
These pleas deal with various issues including the restriction of movement and the Internet ban in the Valley.
The petition filed by child right activists — Enakshi Ganguly and Professor Shanta Sinha — raises crucial questions pertaining to the detention of children in J&K.
Asifa Mubeen has filed a plea seeking quashing of the August 7 order of detention along with the grounds of detention under section 8(1)(a) of the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978 and said that her husband, who is currently lodged at Agra Central jail has been “wrongfully deprived” of his liberty.
Sameer Kaul has filed a plea seeking restoration of internet facilities in hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir while journalist Bhasin has sought a relaxation of movement of media in the Valley.
The court has also tagged fresh petitions filed by Tarigami.
There are other petitions challenging the Centre’s decision on Article 370.
The NC leaders submitted that the Presidential Orders paved the way for application of entire provisions of the Constitution in Jammu and Kashmir and also have the effect of nullifying Article 35A and completely abrogating Article 370.
While challenging the Centre’s decisions to scrap provisions of the Article 370 that accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and dividing it into two Union Territories, the two MPs have sought a direction to declare the Act and the Presidential Orders as “unconstitutional, void and inoperative”.
They submitted that the apex court now has to examine whether the Union government can “unilaterally” unravel the unique federal scheme under the cover of President’s rule while undermining crucial elements of due process and rule of law.
“This case, therefore, goes to the heart of Indian federalism, democratic processes and role of the apex court as the guardian of the federal structure,” the petition has said.
They submitted that Article 370 was extensively considered as carefully drafted in order to ensure the peaceful and democratic accession of the former princely state of Jammu and Kashmir to the Indian Union.
The two have contended that the Presidential Orders and the new legislation unconstitutionally undermine the scheme of Article 370.
The first Presidential Order uses Article 370 (1)(d) — this was meant to apply other provisions of the Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir — to alter Article 370 itself and thereby the terms of federal relationship between the J&K and Union of India, they have submitted.
These petitions have also challenged the bifurcation of the state into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Detention of kids in J&K: SC refers plea to Constitution bench
The Supreme Court on Monday referred the petition challenging the illegal detention of children in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) since August 5, to the Constitution bench formed to hear the petitions challenging abrogation of Article 370.
The top court had on Saturday constituted a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana to hear the clutch of petitions related to Article 370, that gave a special status to J& K.
The petition has been filed by two child right activists and the Chief Justice had on September 20 observed that it raises crucial questions pertaining to the detention of children in J&K. (PTI)