SC to hear pleas on scrapping of Article 370, clampdown in J-K today
The Supreme Court will on Wednesday hear a clutch of petitions challenging the Centre’s decision to revoke Article 370 that granted a special status to Jammu and Kashmir and the security and communication lockdown in the region.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi will hear the pleas, almost 10 of them.
Among them is Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury’s habeas corpus petition challenging the detention of Kashmiri politician and the party’s general secretary Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami.
Tehseen Poonawalla, a social activist, 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.
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“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,” Poonawalla has said in the plea.
Another petition to be heard on Wednesday has been filed by National Conference leader Mohammad Akbar Lone, who has cited ‘Swaraj’ or self-governance. Lone has 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.
Lone said Article 370 was extensively considered and carefully drafted in order to ensure the peaceful and democratic accession of the formerly princely state of Jammu and Kashmir to the Indian Union.
Shah Faesal, an independent politician and former Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from Jammu and Kashmir, in a joint petition with activist Shehla Rashid has also challenged the Centre’s move to scrap Article 370.
Among the petitions that the bench will also hear is that of Kashmiri artist Inder Salim alias Inder Ji Tickoo and veteran journalist Satish Jacob. They have challenged the recent presidential orders on Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories.
Six retired military officers and bureaucrats have also challenged the decision to revoke Article 370.
Other petitioners include advocate ML Sharma, Shakir Shabir and Soyaib Qureshi. The executive editor of Kashmir Times Anuradha Bhasin’s plea seeking direction to relax movement of media personnel as well as photojournalists for free reporting on the situation will also be heard on Wednesday.
A law graduate in Delhi, Mohammad Aleem Syed, has also filed a plea seeking information about his family in Kashmir.