Ex-bureaucrats, army officers move SC over Article 370

A group of retired bureaucrats, officers from Armed forces and others on Saturday filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the August 5 Presidential order revoking the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir.

They claimed that the method of altering Article 370 by purporting to apply Article 367 with modifications to the state of Jammu and Kashmir was "nothing but a fraud on the Constitution".

The petitioners included Radha Kumar, a former member of the Home Ministry’s Group of Interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir (2010- 11), Hindal Haidar Tyabji, a former IAS officer belonging Jammu and Kashmir Cadre, Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Kapil Kak, who was also Deputy Director of Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, Major General (Retd) Ashok Kumar Mehta and Amitabha Pande, former member of Punjab Cadre of IAS.

G K Pillai, former IAS officer of Kerala cadre who retired as Union Home Secretary in 2011, is also one of the petitioners, a press note stated.

The petition has been drawn by advocates Arjun Krishnan, Kaustubh Singh and Rajalakshmi Singh and settled by senior advocate Prashanto Sen.

The petitioners sought a direction to quash the Presidential Order as well as Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Act, 2019.

This is the seventh petition after the Union government took the massive move to take away the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and divide it into two Union Territories.

Their plea argued that Article 370 could not have been altered without a  recommendation from the Constituent Assembly which could be reflected in the will of Legislative Assembly, though it is completely different from the former.

"The action of the Union of India, without ascertaining the will of the people either through its elected government or legislature or through public means such as referenda, has undermined the basic principle of democracy," the petition said, arguing that it was also a violation of principles of federalism.

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