India's Supreme Court issues notice to govt on petitions regarding revocation of Article 370

Published August 28, 2019
Indian Supreme Court issues notice to govt on petitions regarding revocation of Article 370. — AFP/File
Indian Supreme Court issues notice to govt on petitions regarding revocation of Article 370. — AFP/File

Indian Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the federal government on all petitions challenging the revocation of Article 370.

The Supreme Court held a preliminary hearing on 14 petitions — which relate to Article 370 and the subsequent lockdown in the region — today and said five judges will start a regular hearing in October.

"If notice is issued, it will have cross-border repercussions. It will be misused," the Solicitor General was quoted as saying.

Chief Justice Ranjan Gogi and two other judges rejected the government's opposition to a notice on the issue as this may be cited by Pakistan at the United Nations.

Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal said he and another law officer were representing the government before the court.

"We know what to do, we have passed the order, we are not going to change," the Press Trust of India news agency quoted the judges as saying.

While hearing a petition by Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin, which demands an end to communications restrictions in occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the top court issued another notice to the government and asked for a detailed response within a week, ANI reported.

"It's the 24th day of [the] blackout. Even a doctor speaking to the media was whisked away," said Vrinda Grover, arguing on behalf of the petitioner, according to India Today.

The Associated Press said the bench ordered the government to inform the court about the media restrictions imposed in occupied Kashmir.

The bench, on another petition, refused a request from the federal government to appoint an interlocutor for Jammu & Kashmir.

Hindustan Times reported that the court allowed Communist Party of India (Marxist) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury and a Kashmiri student who wanted to meet his parents to visit occupied Kashmir, and asked both to file a report when they return.

On August 5, the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stripped Kashmiris of the constitutional rights they had for seven decades through a rushed presidential order. An indefinite curfew was imposed in occupied Kashmir and elected leaders were put under house arrest. The clampdown has now entered its 24th day.

By repealing Article 370 of the constitution, people from the rest of India will now have the right to acquire property in Kashmir and settle there permanently. Kashmiris, as well as critics of India’s Hindu nationalist-led government, see the move as an attempt to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority occupied Kashmir with Hindu settlers.

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