SC issues notice to Centre on 370, lets Yechury visit J&K
New Delhi, Aug. 28 (IANS): The Supreme Court on Wednesday referred multiple petitions related to the abrogation of Article 370 to a Constitution bench while issuing a notice to the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir administration on these petitions.
A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer also allowed Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury to go to the state and meet his party colleague Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami.
The court notice came despite the Centre requesting it not to issue it, saying Article 370 of the Constitution — which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir — had international and cross-border implications.
“We know what to do. We have passed the order, we are not going to change,” the bench said.
Representing the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal said it was a very sensitive matter and whatever happens in the country over it was raked up at the United Nations.
The court asked the Attorney General if that meant the Supreme Court should not do its duty.
The bench said it was aware of its duties and agreed to hear multiple petitions — those challenging the Centre’s decision to revoke Article 370 as well as those connected to the government-imposed clampdown and its consequences in the region.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Gogoi said the petitions will be heard by a Constitution bench of five judges from the first week of October.
The court was hearing petitions filed by National Conference leader Mohammad Akbar Lone, independent politician and former bureaucrat Shah Faesal, Kashmiri artist Inder Salim alias Inderji Tickoo and six retired military officers and bureaucrats who had challenged the decision to revoke Article 370.
The Supreme Court also allowed Yechury to go to Jammu and Kashmir and meet his party colleague Tarigami but restrained him from getting involved in any other activity.
The order came on Yachury’s habeas corpus petition challenging the detention of Tarigami ahead of the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5. The plea also stated that Tarigami was not in good health and Yechury wanted to meet him.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta opposed Yechuri’s plea saying his visit to the state could be used for political purposes.
However, Yechury’s counsel and senior advocate Raju Ramachandran said the CPI-M leader was ready to give an undertaking that he would only meet his colleague.
“We make it clear that if the petitioner is found to be indulging in any other act, omission or commission save and except what has been indicated above i.e. to meet his friend and colleague party member and to enquire about his welfare and health condition, it will be construed to be a violation of this Court’s order,” the bench said.
The bench directed a Senior Superintendent of Police to facilitate the travel and help the petitioner in locating the whereabouts of Tarigami. The court asked Yechury to file a report when he returns to Delhi.