New Delhi: The Supreme Court is expected to hear a batch of petitions on Wednesday related to abrogation of Article 370 which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir. While most of the petitions have been filed challenging the Narendra Modi-led government’s August 5 decision revoking Article 370, others are related to the imposition of restrictions including communication blockade in the Valley. The pleas will be heard by a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
The petitions have been filed by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury, social activist Tehseen Poonawalla, National Conference leader Mohammad Akbar Lone, Activist Shehla Rashid and Shah Faesal, an independent politician and former bureaucrat from Jammu and Kashmir, Kashmiri artist Inder Salim alias Inder Ji Tickoo, veteran journalist Satish Jacob.
Another petition is of six retired military officers and bureaucrats who had challenged the decision to revoke Article 370. Other petitioners include advocate ML Sharma, Shakir Shabir and Soyaib Qureshi. A plea of Executive Editor of Kashmir Times Anuradha Bhasin seeking direction to relax movement of media personnel as well as photojournalists for free reporting on the situation will also be heard today. A law graduate in Delhi, Mohammad Aleem Syed, has also filed a plea seeking information on the whereabouts of his family in Kashmir.
In his habeas corpus petition, CPI(M)’s Yechury has challenged the detention of Kashmir politician and party general secretary Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami.
Poonawalla, on the other hand, has raised the issue of lockdown in the region as amounting to suspension of Article 19 (freedom of speech) and 21 (personal liberty) of the Constitution. “The actions taken by Union of India pertains to gross abuse of its powers under law, whereby the people of J&K are suffering on account of unwarranted imposition of undeclared curfew and further emergency-like restrictions are being imposed under the garb of Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973,” the plea filed by Poonawalla said.
The petition filed by NC leader Mohammad Akbar Lone has cited ‘Swaraj’ or self-governance and said the right to autonomous self-government within a federal framework is an essential fundamental right. These valuable rights have been taken away without the “procedure established by law” in a manner that violates every canon of Constitutional morality.
He said Article 370 was extensively considered and carefully drafted in order to ensure peaceful and democratic accession of the formerly princely state of Jammu and Kashmir to the Indian Union, drawing out the significance of Article 370, which defines and regulates the relationship between J&K and the Union of India.
The joint petition of Shah Faesal and Shehla Rashid has challenged the Centre’s move to scrap Article 370. Kashmiri artist Inder Salim alias Inder Ji Tickoo and a veteran journalist Satish Jacob’s joint plea has challenged recent Presidential orders on Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories.
Earlier, the apex court had refused to interfere with the restrictions, including the communication clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir, saying that reasonable time should be given for bringing normalcy in the sensitive situation and had posted the matter for hearing after two weeks.