New Delhi: The Apex Court on Monday deferred all petitions related to Jammu and Kashmir by a day, saying those cases would be taken up by a Constitution bench from Tuesday. According to reports, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that the bench did not have time because of the daily hearings on the Ayodhya case. All Kashmir-related cases, including the validity of the government’s decision to end Kashmir’s special status, would be taken up tomorrow.
A five-judge bench headed by Justice NV Ramana will hear the Kashmir cases from tomorrow.
Three judges, including the Chief Justice, hearing the Kashmir cases are on the Ayodhya bench as well. All hearings on the Ayodhya issue have to be completed on October 18.
Several Kashmir-related cases are pending before the Supreme Court. Child rights expert Enakshi Ganguly and professor Shanta Sinha have filed a PIL on the alleged illegal detention of children in J&K.
Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin also filed a plea seeking the removal of communication blockade.
The court also refused to entertain a petition filed by Rajya Sabha MP and MDMK chief Vaiko, challenging the detention of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah. It dismissed Vaiko’s petition, observing that the former J&K CM was under detention as per the Public Safety Act (PSA) and this can be challenged before an ‘appropriate forum’ and further asked him to file a fresh petition.
Earlier, the CJI, whose tenure is about to end in November, had said that if the verdict in the prolonged Ayodhya case can be delivered in four weeks, the court will achieve a miracle. The SC bench hearing the land dispute had also offered to work overtime on Saturdays to complete hearings.
The postponement, however, has drawn flak as questions are being raised whether the Apex Court put Ram Mandir on priority putting the Kashmir issue on the backburner.
The Ayodhya hearing started on August 6.