Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 24
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi leads a Jammu and Kashmir outreach, around 25 petitions challenging the validity of the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, which divided the erstwhile state into two union territories, and nullification of Article 370, remain pending before the Supreme Court for almost two year.
The top court had on August 28, 2019, referred petitions challenging the Presidential order nullifying Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories to a five-judge Constitution Bench. In March last year, it had refused to refer it to a larger Bench of seven judges.
“The Supreme Court can always turn the clock back,” a five-judge Constitution Bench had said this on 1 October, 2020, when it took up the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the J&K Reorganisation Act, 2019, and the August 5 Presidential order nullifying Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
There are around 25 petitions challenging the Presidential order nullifying Article 370, including those by Delhi-based advocate ML Sharma, Jammu and Kashmir-based lawyer Shakir Shabir, National Conference Lok Sabha MPs Mohammad Akbar Lone, Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi, bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal and his party colleague Shehla Rashid.
There is another PIL filed by former interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir Radha Kumar, Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Kapil Kak, Major General (Retd) Ashok Mehta, and former IAS officers Hindal Haidar Tyabji, Amitabha Pande and Gopal Pillai, who have urged the top court to declare the August 5 Presidential order “unconstitutional, void and inoperative”.
The Sajad Gani Lone-led Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference (JKPC) had in November last year moved the Supreme Court demanding early hearing of petitions challenging the nullification of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution.
Referring to the “sweeping changes” introduced in Jammu and Kashmir by the Centre, the plea filed through JKPC spokesperson Adnan Ashraf had submitted that such changes would have an irreparable impact on the rights of people of the erstwhile state.
This was the second such plea in the top court. Earlier, petitioner Shakir Shabir had demanded early hearing, expressing the apprehension that mere passage of time can render the abrogation of Article 370 permanent, making the petitions infructuous.
He had pointed out that since the promulgation of the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 amending Article 367 of the Constitution of India and abrogating Article 370 on August 5, 2019, several laws had been passed, effecting key changes in Jammu and Kashmir.
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