The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Narendra Modi government and others regarding the abrogation of Article 370, which gave special powers to Jammu and Kashmir. The top court said that a five-judge Constitution Bench will hear all the petitions related to scrapping of the Article 370 in the first week of October. The Supreme Court will also take up the issues related to media restrictions and communication blockade after a week. The apex court refused a request from the Centre to appoint an interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir.
Though Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had requested the Supreme Court not to issue formal notices, saying this will have cross-border repercussions and may be used by other countries, Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said that, “we know what to do.. We have passed our orders.” Attorney General KK Venugopal also calls it a very sensitive issue, saying whatever happens here is raked up before the United Nations.
Hearing a clutch of petitions over Article 370, the top court also the Supreme Court also allows CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury to visit Jammu and Kashmir to meet party colleague Md Yusuf Tarigami. “Just remember that you are going to meet a friend (Yousuf Tarigami) and will do nothing else,” Chief Justice of India Gogoi told Yechury. The Supreme Court also issued a notice to the Center on the plea by Kashmir Times Executive Editor, Anuradha Bhasin, seeking a direction for relaxing restrictions on the internet, landline and other communication channels. The top court sought a detailed response from Centre within 7 days.
Putting an end to all wild speculations and online and offline rumours, the Narendra Modi government on August 5 revoked the Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Union Home Minister Amit Shah had also proposed the bifurcation of the state. The third key takeaway of the big announcement was the scrapping of Article 35A, which empowered Jammu and Kashmir state's legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents. The Monday’s big announcements will have far reaching effects on the ground.
With Article 370 becoming history, Jammu and Kashmir will not have separate state flag. With President Ram Nath Kovind’s nod to scrapping of Article 35A, every Indian will now be able to buy property in Jammu and Kashmir. Instead of the Ranbir Penal Code, the entire region will now fall under the jurisdiction of the Indian Penal Code. With these announcements, the Modi government at the Centre will have right on land and police power in Jammu and Kashmir.
As against the trifurcation buzz, the Modi government announced the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir. Shah also moved a bill proposing bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir division and Ladakh. Shah, who introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation bill, said the union territory in Ladakh will have no legislature like Chandigarh. The other union territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature like Delhi and Puducherry.