#Article370Revoked: SC gives time to Centre, adjourns matter till November
The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Centre has four weeks to submit its response on a bunch of petitions challenging its decision to rescind Article 370, thanks to an order of the Supreme Court. A Constitution bench of the apex court on Tuesday said it will hear the matter again on November 14. To note, the provisions of the Constitution were revoked in August.
Article 370 allowed J&K citizens to live under a separate set of laws. Further, it stopped people from other parts of the country to purchase property or settle there. The Centre said the contentious provisions fanned separatist sentiments and emboldened cross-border terrorism, sponsored by Pakistan. In August, Parliament passed the J&K Reorganization Bill which split the border state into two UTs.
To prepare J&K for the tectonic change, Centre put it under unprecedented security cover, forcing people to approach SC. On Monday, CJI Ranjan Gogoi said he and two other judges were busy with daily hearings of Ayodhya matter, so all J&K issues should be heard by "Kashmir bench". The pleas included those pertaining to alleged human rights violations and curbs on the press.
The five-judge bench which heard the matter was headed by Justice NV Ramana and included Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai and Surya Kant. In court, the government was represented by Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who sought time. Mehta called the "request" reasonable considering there are over ten pleas against the Centre's decision.
However, senior counsel Raju Ramchandran opposed the demand. He said J&K Reorganization Bill will come into effect from October 31 and the "matters should not be rendered infructuous". Meanwhile, Justice Ramana noted that he is inclined to wait for Centre's reply while adjourning the matter for next month. The court also allowed J&K administration to file counter-affidavits on pleas challenging Article 370's removal.
Reportedly, the bench also junked a petition dealing with internet blackout. The petitioner Dr. Sameer Kaul wanted internet services to be restored in hospitals of J&K. Dismissing his prayer, the bench asked him to approach the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.