Retd Civil, Military Officers Challenge Scrapping of Art 370 in SC
The petitioners said that the scrapping of Article 370 and the J&K Reorganisation Act were constitutionally invalid.
A group of six retired bureaucrats and military officers filed a petition in the Supreme Court on Saturday, 17 August, challenging the presidential order which abrogated Article 370, that gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir. They also challenged the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which bifurcated J&K into the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir.
The petitioners include retired Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, Retired Major General Ashok Mehta, Radha Kumar who was a former member of the Home Ministry’s Group of Interlocutors for J&K and former IAS officers Hindal Haidar Tyabji, Amitabha Pande and Gopal Pillai. The petition was drafted by advocates Arjun Krishnan, Kaustubh Singh and Rajalakshmi Singh.
This is the seventh petition challenging the abrogation of Article 370 that has been filed in the Supreme Court. Six other petitions regarding the same are pending before the apex court.
Stating that the Indian government’s move undermines “the very basis on which the state of J&K had integrated into India,” the petitioners have argued that the presidential order for the same is constitutionally invalid.
They further stated that Article 370(3) of the Constitution requires “the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir to recommend a presidential notification.” Since the Jammy & Kashmir Assembly no longer exists, they could not make a recommendation for the same, they stated.
It also states that taking away the statehood of J&K and dividing it into two Union Territories should not have been done without the consent of the state.
"The unconstitutionality of the act is further exacerbated by the fact that this declaration had been made with the concurrence of the Governor (Satya Pal Malik) at a time when the state of Jammu and Kashmir was under the President’s rule," reads the petition.
On 5 August 2019, the government of India abrogated Article 370 and introduced the Jammu And Kashmir Reorganisation Bill in Parliament, which was subsequently passed. This, as the state of Jammu & Kashmir, remained under communication shutdown with internet, telephone and television services being suspended.
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