The Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday agreed to hear a bunch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 and said a five-judge Constitution Bench would start hearing the validity of the government’s move from the first week of October.
Despite stiff opposition from Attorney General (AG) K K Venugopal and Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, a three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, issued notices to the Centre and the Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) administration, and sought their response on the petitions.
The issuance of notice by the apex court would mean that the case has been formally taken on board by the SC. AG Venugopal and SG Mehta, while opposing the same, said that the notices would have ‘cross-border repercussion’, which will be used by other countries, adding that whatever was said by the apex court was being taken to the United Nations by these countries.
The first in the batch of petitions has been filed by advocate M L Sharma, with the other petitioners in the case being J&K lawyer Shakir Shabir.
Farooq Abdullah-led National Conference’s two legislators had also subsequently moved petitions before the apex court challenging the removal of Article 370, and said that the Centre had taken away the rights of its citizens without their mandate.
Hearing a separate petition moved by Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, the apex court allowed him to visit his party colleague and Member of Legislative Assembly from the state, Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami. The three-judge Bench, however, said that Yechury would only go there and meet Tarigami.
“We make it clear that if the petitioner is found to be indulging in any other act, omission or commission save and except what has been indicated above, that is, to meet his friend and colleague party member and to enquire about his welfare and health condition, it will be construed to be a violation of this court’s order,” the apex court said in its order.
During the hearing, the court, however, rejected the central government’s offer to escort Yechury while he was in J&K, and instead directed the senior Superintendent of Police to facilitate the travel and help Yechury in locating the whereabouts of Tarigami.
“No sooner the petitioner (Yechury) comes back to Delhi, he will file a report supported by an affidavit in connection with the purpose of the visit as indicated in this order,” the court said.
Another student from the state was also allowed by the apex court to travel to Anantnag in J&K, meet his parents, and ‘after ensuring their welfare, to report back to the court on the next date fixed’.
The apex court will next week also hear a bunch of petitions challenging the cutting of communication lines by the central government and the J&K administration, and issued notice in the case.