New Delhi- The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that it wants National Conference leader Mohd Akbar Lone to apologise for raising Pakistan Zindabad’ slogan in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in 2018.
Lone is the lead petitioner challenging the abrogation of Article 370 that accorded special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud was told by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, that Lone is the lead petitioner challenging the abrogation of the provision, but he has to state that he owes allegiance to the Constitution and apologise for raising the slogan on the floor of the House.
The bench also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai and Surya Kant said it will seek a statement from Lone, when his turn for rejoinder arguments comes.
The bench said it has gone through the report published in the newspaper and taken note of the submissions made in the court.
Mehta said, “These statements coming from senior leaders have its own effect. If no apology is given, it would encourage others. This will have an effect on steps taken to bring normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Mehta was supported by senior advocates Rakesh Dwivedi and V Giri, who are appearing for intervenors and are supporting the abrogation, that Lone must furnish an affidavit apologising for raising slogans.
On September 1, a Kashmiri Pandit group had questioned in the top court the credentials of Lone, claiming he was a supporter of secessionist forces.
An intervention application in the apex court has been filed by an NGO ‘Roots in Kashmir’, which claims to be a group of Kashmiri Pandit youths, seeking to bring some additional documents and facts on record in the matter.
It alleged that Lone is known as “a supporter of secessionist forces operating in J-J-K, who support Pakistan.”
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