Indian SC to hold ‘day-to-day’ hearings on pleas against removal of occupied Kashmir’s special status

Published July 11, 2023
A television journalist sets his camera inside the premises of the Supreme Court in New Delhi. — Reuters
A television journalist sets his camera inside the premises of the Supreme Court in New Delhi. — Reuters

The Supreme Court of India has decided to conduct “day-to-day” hearings on a set of petitions challenging the abrogation of occupied Kashmir’s special status from August 2, Indian media outlets reported on Tuesday.

In 2019, India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had revoked occupied Kashmir’s special status by repealing Article 370 of the constitution. The move allowed people from the rest of the country to have the right to acquire property in occupied Kashmir and settle there permanently.

Article 370 had limited the power of the Indian parliament to impose laws in the state, apart from matters of defence, foreign affairs and communications.

Kashmiris, international organisations and critics of India’s Hindu nationalist-led government had termed the move an attempt to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers.

According to The Indian Express, a five-member bench — headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud — took up the petitions questioning the constitutional validity of the Indian government’s Aug 2019 decision to abrogate Article 370.

“Hearing to commence on August 2 at 10:30 am and then proceed on a day-to-day basis,” the report quoted the Indian apex court as saying.

It stated that the Indian government had a day earlier submitted an affidavit in the court, saying that it had “brought unprecedented development, progress, security and stability to the region, which was often missing during the old Article 370 regime” and that it was a “testament to the fact that Parliamentary wisdom…” was “exercised prudently”.

However during the hearing today, Justice Chandrachud said the “Centre’s latest affidavit regarding the present status of occupied Kashmir with its special status revoked would not have any bearing on the constitutional issues raised in the petitions and shall not be relied upon for that purpose”, The Indian Express said.

Separately, Indian news agency ANI reported that the court had appointed two advocates as “nodal counsels for the preparation of common convenience compilations of documents”.

“Written submissions shall also be filed on or before July 27 and no further additions to the convenience compilation shall be permissible,” it quoted India’s top court as saying.

Commenting on the hearing, former chief minister of occupied Kashmir Omar Abdullah said today’s proceedings were “just the beginning”.

“We hope that the hearing ends soon and Supreme Court’s decision comes before us soon,” he told ANI.

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