[dropcap]T[/dropcap]HE total number of petitions filed in Supreme Court challenging the cancellation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, its bifurcation and subsequent clampdown in Kashmir has reached nine so far.
On Saturday, two fresh petitions were filed in the apex court against the Presidential order which amended Article 370 of the Constitution of India, and enactment of J&K Reorganization Act, 2019 (Reorganization Act).
Now the total number of petitions filed in the Supreme Court that challenge Presidential order that abrogated state’s special status and bifurcation of state into Union Territory of Ladakh and the Union Territory of J&K, has reached six. There are three separate petitions seeking withdrawal of curfew restrictions and other regressive measures like communications blockade. One of the three petitions in second category also seeks writ of habeas corpus.
Here’re details of all the petitions and their current status:
Petitions challenging changes to Article 370 & Reorganization Act
1) Advocate ML Sharma has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging President’s Order dated August 5, 2019, on Article 370 (Filed on August 6, 2019. Dy. No.28055/2019)
This petition was heard on August 16 by a three-judge bench comprising the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, Justices SA Bobde and Abdul Nazeer. The CJI pulled up Sharma for extremely poor drafting of the petition. CJI went on to say, “What kind of petition is this? What are your pleadings and prayer? We don’t want to dismiss it because it might affect other petitions. In a matter of this nature, how can you file such a petition? I tried to read your petition for half an hour but could not understand it”.
Current status: No notice issued on the petition as of now. Petition will be listed again along with other petitions seeking similar relief, after defects in all petitions are cured. No fixed date of hearing was given by the court.
2) Advocate from Kashmir, Shakir Shabir, filed a petition challenging President’s Order of August 5, 2019, pertaining to Article 370 (Filed on August 9, 2019, Dy No. 28563/19)
This petition has not yet been taken up for hearing. Shakir Shabir, appearing in person, informed the court that he has cured all defects in his petition. He made the submission in the midst of hearing of ML Sharma’s petition.
Current status: Pending and is likely to be listed along-with petition filed by ML Sharma.
3) Advocate Soayib Qureshi also filed a petition 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 (Filed on August 9, 2019, Dy No. 28681 of 2019)
This petition has not yet been taken up for hearing.
Current status: Under defects. Defects were notified on August 10, 2019. The same have not yet been cured.
4) Members of Parliament (MPs) Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi of National Conference have challenged President’s Order on Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 (Filed on August 10, 2019, Dy No. 28803 of 2019)
This is an important petition since it also, in addition to the challenge to the Presidential Order scrapping Article 370, also challenges Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019
Current status: Defects notified on August 13, 2014. Cured by the petitioners on August 14, 2019. Ready for hearing by the court.
5) Kashmiri artist Inder Salim alias Inder JiTickoo and a veteran journalist Satish Jacob have filed a petition challenging President’s Order on Article 370 and the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019 (Filed on August 13, 2019, Dy No. 29001of 2019]
Current status: Defects were notified on August 13, 2019. The same has not yet been cured.
6) 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 J&K Radha Kumar, filed a petition in the Supreme Court, 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 [Petition filed on August 17, 2019]
Petitions challenging the communications blackout & writ of habeas corpus
1) Tehseen Poonwalla filed a PIL seeking the release of J&K political leaders and lifting of the curfew. (Petition filed on August 07, 2019, Dy No. 28160/2019)
This PIL was heard on August 13, 2019, by a three-judge bench comprising the justices Arun Mishra, MR Shah and Ajay Rastogi which deferred the hearing of the petition for two weeks. The court observed that more time should be given to the central government to restore normalcy in the state and chose to defer the hearing for two weeks.
Current status: No notice issued on the petition as of now. Adjourned for two weeks.
2) Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor of Kashmir Times, filed a petition seeking directions to ensure that the State creates an enabling environment for journalists and all other media personnel in all parts of J&K to practice their profession. (Petition filed on August 10, 2019, Dy No. 28817 of 2019)
This petition was also heard on August 16, 2019, along-with petition filed by ML Sharma. The court maintained it would like to give some more time to the government to review the situation. However, both the Attorney General for India (AG) K K Venugopal and Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta opposed the said petition and submitted that the matter should be left on the wisdom of security agencies.
Appearing for Kashmir Times editor, advocate Vrinda Grover told the court that there was complete media blackout in the state. At this, Justice Bobde stated that landline phones were working and he had made a telephonic call to the Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
Grover, however, asserted that not all landline phones were working in Kashmir.
Current status: No notice issued on the petition as of now. No fixed date of hearing has been given by the court.
3) Jammu and Kashmir resident and Jamia Millia Islamic law graduate Mohammad Aleem Syed has sought writ of habeas corpus for the production of his parents and brother with whom he has lost contact after the Article 370 decision. (Filed on August 10, 2019, Dy No. 28819 of 2019)
This is a different petition altogether. It seeks a different relief. It seeks writ of habeas corpus for the production of his parents and brother with whom he has lost contact after the government move on Article 370.
Current status: Defects in the petition were notified on August 10, 2019. Cured by the petitioner on August 14, 2019. Ready for the hearing.
Pertinently, the petitions filed by ML Sharma, AnuradhaBhasin and Tehseen Poonwalla, as can be seen from details mentioned above, have been heard by the apex court. However, no notice calling response from the central government has been issued yet.
(Editor’s note: This is a developing story, it would be updated as more details come in)