Putting an embargo on fresh petitions challenging the government’s decision on Article 370, the Supreme Court on Tuesday fixed November 14 to commence hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Constitutional validity of the amendment to Article 370 revoking the special status for Jammu and Kashmir.
A five-judge bench headed by Justice N V Ramana allowed Centre four weeks time to file counter-affidavits to the cases, and one week time for the petitioner to file a rejoinder. The top court which is already seized of multiple petitions in the matter said it will not entertain any more petitions.
"We have to allow the Centre and the J&K administration to file counter-affidavit otherwise we can’t decide the matter," the bench also comprising justices S K Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant said.
On Monday, a bench headed by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi transferred all petitions pending before it to the Constitution Bench headed by Justice N V Ramana. The bench was constituted especially to hear matters related to Article 370 starting Tuesday.
These include pleas by Anuradha Bhasin, executive editor of Kashmir Times newspaper; the habeas corpus petition by CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury questioning detention of party colleague Yusuf Tarigami; and Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad seeking permission to travel to J&K.
The Presidential Order, according to the petitioners, used a temporary situation meant to hold the field until the return of the elected government, to accomplish a fundamental, permanent, and irreversible alteration of the status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir without the concurrence, consultation or recommendation of the people of that State, acting through their elected representatives .
This, they said, amounted to an overnight abrogation of the democratic rights and freedoms guaranteed to the people of the State upon its accession .
Petitions have also been filed by former IAS officer Shah Faesal, activist Shehla Rashid, and advocates Shakir Shabir, ML Sharma, Vineet Dhanda, and others.