Centre’s decision on Article 370 is ‘unconstitutional’: Former defence officers and Bureaucrats

A group consisting of ex-defence officers and bureaucrats are knocking on Supreme Court’s doors to challenge the abolishment of Article 370. Article 370 gives special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and its residents.

Supreme Court
The former defence officers and bureaucrats ought declaring Jammu and Kashmir (reorganization) Act of 2019 as “unconstitutional, void, and inoperative”

A plea has been filed in the apex court by former members of Home Ministry’s Group of Interlocutors of Jammu and Kashmir (2010-2011), ex-IAS officer Hindal Haidar Tyabji (J&K Cadre), former IAS Officer (Punjab Cadre) Amitabh Pande, retired Major general Ashok Kumar Mehta, Gopal Pillai former IAS Officer (Kerala Cadre) who also retired in 2011 as from the position of Union Home Secretary, and retired Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak.

They say that president’s order of August 5th of abolishing Article 370 are ‘unconstitutional, void, and inoperative’.

According to the plea that was filed ‘the brazen unconstitutionality of the Act is unprecedented. By way of an amendment in Article 367, conditions have been sought to be read into Article 370(3) which has the effect of completely nullifying the effect of Article 370 and abrogating the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir’.

It also said ‘the state itself has been dismembered by being downgraded as a Union Territory and part of it being split to form another Union Territory of Ladakh. This has been followed by a completely lock-in giving no scope to the people of Jammu & Kashmir to have any say in the entire exercise. The above action jeopardises and strikes at the very root of the integration of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into India’.

These ex-bureaucrats and defence officer say that Article 370 cannot be revoked when the President made the public announcement, it is restricted by provision Article 370(3) which states that it is necessary to get consent from the Constituent Assembly of the state.

The top court has seen over 6 petitions on this matter including elimination of restriction in the state of J&K. The petitions were filed by Tehseen Poonwalla a Congress activist, lawyers M L Sharma and Shakir Shabir, along with MPs (Member of Parliament) of National Conference Anuradha Bhasin, Hasnain Masoodi, and Mohammad Akbar Lone. There were more people who did file a petition in the apex court like Kashmir Times’ Executive Editor.

However, the Supreme Court says it will not examine them as the petitions filed on the abolishment of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution have deficiencies.

As the top court received first petition on the matter on the 6th of August it got furious as this petition along with 6 other that were filed were imperfect. The court summoned advocate M L Sharma, told him that his petition has ‘no meaning’. He was the first one to file a petition.

As CJI (Chief Justice of India) Ranjan Gogoi took half an hour to read through the petition, he was baffled as he could not understand the ground of the petition. He asked Sharma to rectify the shortcomings on his petitions challenging the abolishment of Article 370. Supreme Court also directed the registry to not put any matter in front of the CJI until the defects were rectified.

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