5-judge SC bench to begin hearing petitions challenging Article 370 on Tuesday
A five-judge Constitution bench led by Justice N V Ramana is set to start hearing pleas challenging the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370, which granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, on Tuesday. The SC bench will also hear individual petitions on alleged restrictions imposed by the Centre in Kashmir valley and lack of access to basic amenities like food, medicines etc.
On Monday, a SC bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi refused to hear cases related to Jammu and Kashmir saying it cannot hear the cases due to lack of time since it was busy hearing Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute suit. CJI Gogoi, however, said that the SC bench headed by Justice Ramana will also hear the pleas challenging restrictions on the media.
It may be recalled that the Centre revoked Article 370 on August 5 and bifurcated the region into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The changes were passed by the Parliament in the form of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 on August 6.
Meanwhile, the CJI on Monday dismissed a petition filed by Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK) general secretary Vaiko seeking release of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah. It is to be noted that Abdullah was detained under Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act on September 16.
The apex court said that Abdullah has been detained under PSA and that order will be open to challenge before an appropriate forum. Since Vaiko’s petition did not have that prayer the SC decided to dismiss his plea. Under PSA, the government can keep a person under detention for upto 2 years without a trial. Though Farooq Abdullah has been detained under PSA, there is no bar on him meeting relatives and friends at his Srinagar residence, which has been converted into a subsidiary jail.