SC sets up bench to hear pleas against Article 370

SC sets up bench to hear pleas against Article 370

The Supreme Court on Saturday set up a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice N V Ramana to adjudicate on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the Centre’s decision to abrogate the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The bench, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant, will commence hearing on the issue from October 1. 

Justice Ramana is the third senior-most judge. He would take over as the CJI following the retirement of Justice S A Bobde on April 23, 2021. A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi is separately considering other petitions related to the communications blockade. 

On August 28, the court had referred about a dozen petitions for consideration before a five-judge Constitution bench in the first week of October.

The top court had sought a response from the Union government on a batch of petitions filed by sitting NC MPs and others against the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, and discarded a request by Attorney General K K Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta for not issuing a formal notice on the grounds that it was “very sensitive” matter.

J&K National Conference MPs Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi sought a declaration that the August 5 Presidential Order was unconstitutional and inoperative.

They also challenged the validity of the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganisation) Act of 2019, which divided the state into two Union Territories. Besides, separate petitions filed by Shah Faesal, former IAS topper, and Radha Kumar, former J&K interlocutor, along with a group of former bureaucrats were also admitted for consideration.

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