Supreme Court to hear pleas relating to Article 370 repeal today

Supreme Court case
A view of the Supreme Court of India, in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

The Supreme Court is set to hear on Wednesday (August 28) a batch of petitions concerning the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370, revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

In a first after the Centre’s J&K move, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi will take up matters relating to Article 370 and subsequent developments as listed.

The court will also hear the petitions seeking removal of other restrictions including communication blockade in the state which is coming in the way of journalists to carry out their professional duties.

While the petition against the scrapping of Article 370 has been filed by advocate M L Sharma, National Conference MPs Mohd Akbar Lone and Justice (rtd) Hasnain Masoodi have challenged the changes made in the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir by the Centre.

They have also been joined by former IAS officer Shah Faesal and former JNU student leader Shehla Rashid and several others including eminent persons like Radha Kumar.

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A petition has also been filed by CPM leader Sitaram Yechury seeking production of his party colleague Mohd Tarigami who has been detained by the authorities. Tarigami, a member of the Central Committee of the CPI(M) and four-time MLA of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly, has not been keeping well, party sources said.

The Supreme Court had earlier refrained from examining the legal challenges posed to the changes made in the constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir, saying that the petitions filed on the “serious issue” suffer from defects.

It pulled up advocate ML Sharma, the first petitioner on the issue, saying his petition has “no meaning”.

The National Conference, a political party in Jammu and Kashmir, has also filed a petition, contending that the changes to the Constitution have taken away rights of its citizens without their mandate.

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Arguing that the legislation approved by Parliament and orders issued by the President were “unconstitutional”, the petition prayed for these to be declared as “void and inoperative”.

The petition has been filed by Mohammad Akbar Lone and Justice (rtd) Hasnain Masoodi, both Lok Sabha members belonging to the NC.

Lone is a former speaker of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and Masoodi a retired judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, who ruled in 2015 that Article 370 was a permanent feature of the Constitution.

To another petition, the SC had said that it will wait for some time before passing any orders on the plea seeking removal of restrictions on the media in Jammu and Kashmir.

During the hearing, the Centre had told the apex court that the situation is improving in Jammu and Kashmir and the curbs are being lifted gradually.

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Advocate Vrinda Grover, appearing for Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor, Kashmir Times, said there was a need for early restoration of communication mode for journalists to carry out their work.

The government has come under severe criticism over its move to abrogate the special status of Jammu and Kashmir given under Article 370 of the Constitution. Strict restrictions were imposed in the state during the move and it has been gradually eased in several parts.