Srinagar- Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir on Tuesday welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision to hear a batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution on a day-to-day basis.
The apex court on Tuesday said it will commence day-to-day hearing from August 2 on the petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 that bestowed a special status on the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah said he is confident that there is a strong case in favour of the restoration of Article 370.
“It took four years for the case to get to the Supreme Court. It shows how strong our case is. Had it been weak, believe me, they (Centre) would have started the hearing within weeks. It took so long because the Constitution was blown to pieces on August 5, 2019,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister told reporters after paying homage to his grandmother Begum Akbar Jahan, the wife of NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
Abdullah said the abrogation of Article 370 may be linked to tourism and G20 events, but the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was wrong.
“You may package it as you may wish. Link it to tourism or G20 as much as you like, but legally and constitutionally, whatever happened with Jammu and Kashmir was wrong,” he added.
The former Union minister also claimed that the government’s case is weak.
“The government did not even try to get it listed. There are ways…. If the government was interested, it could have requested the Supreme Court for an early hearing. Had its case been strong, it would have requested the chief justice for a hearing. It did not.
“Thankfully, the chief justice and other Supreme Court judges came here, probably saw the situation and after going back, it was listed. Better late than never,” Abdullah said.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti said the top court’s decision not to rely on the Centre’s affidavit on the abrogation of Article 370 vindicates her stand that the BJP-led Union government’s move did not have a logical explanation.
Mufti, however, said there are genuine apprehensions regarding why the apex court has taken up the petitions with such alacrity after remaining silent for four years.
“Hon’ble SC’s decision to not rely on GOI’s affidavit vindicates that it doesn’t have a logical explanation to justify illegal abrogation of Article 370.
“Having said that there are legitimate apprehensions about why SC has taken up the Article 370 with such alacrity after their visit to Kashmir. After remaining silent for four years the decision to hear the case on a daily basis does evoke misgivings. Hope the Constitution of this country by which judiciary swears is not sacrificed at the altar of power to satisfy collective conscience of people who know little about the matter,” the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister wrote on Twitter.
NC’s chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq said the development instills hope among the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“It is a welcome development that the CJI will hear the petitions on a daily basis from August 2. It instills a lot of hope in the minds and hearts of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” Sadiq told PTI here.
He said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been waiting for this day for the last four years.
“Now that the CJI has taken interest in this case, it definitely gives us hope. We we would request that the petitions are heard thoroughly and a verdict is given in our favour because we feel our case is very strong,” Sadiq said.
To a query on the top court’s observation that the Centre’s fresh affidavit will have no bearing on the hearing, the NC leader said the affidavit should not matter much as it is more about the developmental aspect.
“The fact that the extra affidavit of the government had more about development and the fact that the court did not agree to it is also a welcome step, because you need to understand that in spite of Article 370, there was development here before 1989. In spite of Article 370, you had a record number of tourists coming to Jammu and Kashmir.
“A record number of one crore pilgrims visited Jammu and Kashmir when Omar Abdullah was the chief minister. So the affidavit should not matter much, because the CJI has said the matter should be decided on the basis of the Constitution,” Sadiq said.
Senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M Y Tarigami also welcomed the apex court’s decision.
“This is a positive intervention. We welcome it. Though it is late as it has taken four years, nevertheless, it has sent a positive message to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh,” he said.
“We expect that justice will be delivered,” the Left leader added.
The Centre abrogated the provisions of Article 370 on August 5, 2019 and bifurcated the erstwhile state into the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
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