[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the central government and state of Jammu and Kashmir over a batch of petitions challenging abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Centre had earlier issued two Presidential orders on August 5 and 6 and announced bifurcation of the state into the Union Territory of Ladakh, comprising Kargil and Leh districts and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, comprising the territories of the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir, other than Kargil and Leh through the Jammu Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 that takes effect from October 31, 2019.
Hearing a batch of petitions, a three-judge bench comprising the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, Justices S A Bobde and Abdul Nazeer said the matter would be heard by a five-judge Constitution bench in the first week of October, and asked the Centre to file its response to all petitions by then.
The court has not granted any interim relief as it was not pressed for by the counsels appearing for the petitioners.
Appearing for the central government and state of J&K, Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal and Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta had vehemently opposed the issuing of a formal notice on the petitions.
“This is a very sensitive issue. Statements made here are sent to UN”, Venugopal argued.
Mehta interjected that: “This has cross border implications. We are here. Your Lordships may record our statements. We will file our reply even without notice”.
The apex court, however, did not accede to the request of the central government and state of Jammu and Kashmir and went on to issue the notice in the matter.
The following petitions were heard by the top court on Wednesday, August 28, on which notice has been issued:
1) Petition filed by advocate ML challenging President’s order dated August 5, 2019, on Article 370
2) Petition filed by an advocate from Kashmir, Shakir Shabir, challenging President’s order of August 5, 2019, pertaining to Article 370
3) Petition filed by advocate Soayib Qureshi challenging President’s order dated August 5 and 6, 2019 on Article 370. He has also sought a declaration from the court that the statutory resolution passed by the Parliament regarding Article 370 is unconstitutional.
4) Petition filed by National Conference MPs Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi which has also challenged President’s order on Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019
5) Petition filed by Kashmiri artist Inder Salim alias Inder Ji Tickoo and a veteran journalist Satish Jacob, challenging President’s order on Article 370 and the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019
6) Petition filed by former military officers and bureaucrats including former Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, retired Major General Ashok Mehta, former IAS officers Hindal Haidar Tyabji, Amitabha Pande and Gopal Pillai, and former member of the Home Ministry’s group of interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir Radha Kumar, challenging the Presidential order by which Article 370 was abrogated, saying that the order was constitutionally invalid. They have also opposed the enactment of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019
7) Petition filed by former IAS officer Shah Faesal and JNU alumnus Shehla Rashid, along with five others, challenging the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and its bifurcation into two Union Territories.
Besides these seven petitions, notice has also been issued on two more petitions seeking similar relief.