Article 370: 5-judge SC bench to hear pleas against abrogation tomorrow

Security personnel stand guard at a check point during restrictions in Srinagar, after Centre abrogated Article 370. (Photo:PTI)

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear from Tuesday a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Centre's abrogating the provisions of Article 370, which gave special status to erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

A 5-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice N V Ramana will commence the hearing on a batch of petitions including that of private individuals, lawyers, activists and political parties like National Conference, Sajjad Lone-led J&K Peoples Conference and CPI (M) leader Mohd Yousuf Tarigami.

The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant, had on November 14 refused to pass any interim order on the pleas saying it might lead to delay in the matter and the apex court would settle all the issues at one go after hearing all the parties.

On Monday, a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana asked Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and senior advocate Raju Ramachandaran to come prepared in the matter.

The bench also asked the parties to prepare a common compilation of all the documents so that hearing of the matter becomes easier.

Mehta said that although common compilation of submission is ready but if any fresh material during the course of hearing, then it will be filed at a later stage.

Earlier, the top court had also asked the Centre to respond to two fresh petitions which have raised issues related to abrogation of the provisions of Article 370.

The court, which had earlier put an embargo on filing of any fresh writ petition challenging the abrogation, had said it would hear these only two pleas as they have raised some important issues.

Besides, the two fresh pleas, a batch of petitions are pending before the apex court.

Several political parties including the National Conference (NC), the Sajjad Lone-led J&K Peoples Conference and CPI (M) leader Mohd Yousuf Tarigami have filed pleas challenging the Centre's August 5 decision to abrogate Article 370.

The petition on behalf of NC was filed by Lok Sabha MPs Mohammad Akbar Lone and Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi. In 2015, Justice (retd) Masoodi had ruled that Article 370 was a permanent feature of the Constitution.

A plea was also filed by a group of former defence officers and bureaucrats -- professor Radha Kumar, ex-member of Home Ministry's Group of Interlocutors for J&K (2010-11), former J&K cadre IAS officer Hindal Haidar Tyabji, Air Vice Marshal (retd) Kapil Kak, Major Gen. (retd) Ashok Kumar Mehta, ex-Punjab-cadre IAS officer Amitabha Pande and ex-Kerala-cadre IAS officer Gopal Pillai.

Besides, a plea has been filed by bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal, along with his party colleague Shehla Rashid.



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