A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that the petitions will be heard from the first week of October.

Supreme Court refers Article 370 cases to 5-judge Constitution Bench
news Article 370 Wednesday, August 28, 2019 - 13:05

The Supreme Court on Monday took up a batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370, and issued a notice to the Centre on multiple petitions related to the abrogation. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said that the petitions will be heard by a five-judge Constitution bench from the first week of October.

The bench said it was aware of its duties and agreed to hear multiple petitions -- those challenging the Centre's decision to revoke Article 370 that accorded a special status to Jammu and Kashmir as well as those connected to the government-imposed clampdown and its consequences in the region.

However, the Centre asked the court not to issue the notice, saying Article 370 had international and cross-border implications. Representing the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal said it was a very sensitive matter and whatever happened in the country over it was raked up at the United Nations. The court asked the Attorney General if that meant the Supreme Court won't do its duty. 

The bench also heard Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Sitaram Yechury's habeas corpus petition to go meet Kashmir politician and party general secretary Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, which the court allowed. 

The other pleas filed include social activist Tehseen Poonawalla’s who 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 plea said: “The actions taken by the 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."

Another petition filed by National Conference leader Mohammad Akbar Lone 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.

Shah Faesal, an independent politician and former bureaucrat from Jammu and Kashmir in a joint petition with activist Shehla Rashid has challenged the Centre's move to scrap Article 370.

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 on Wednesday.

Another plea is of a law graduate in Delhi, Mohammad Aleem Syed, seeking information on the whereabouts of his family in Kashmir.

With IANS inputs

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