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Fresh PIL in SC demands abrogation of Art 370, ‘true integration’ of JK

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SRINAGAR: A fresh Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been submitted in the Supreme Court to demand abrogation of Article 370 that it defines as “unconstitutional and illegal”.

Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay of Ghaziabad has submitted the petition through advocate R D Upadhyay claiming that proviso of the Article 370 (3) has been lapsed with the dissolution of J&K Constituent Assembly on January 26, 1957.

 

“It has been restricted to being directory only and cannot be treated as mandatory for the exercise of power of the president,” it says.

It claims that maximum life span of Article 370 of the constitution was only till the existence of constituent assembly.

“The constitution of JK is invalid mainly for the reason that the same has not yet got the assent of president, which is mandatory as per provisions of the constitution of India,” it claims.

“Constitution of JK is against supremacy of the constitution of India and contrary to dictum one nation, one constitution one anthem and one flag and for JK’s pure integration with union of India.”

Article 370 accords special rights and privileges to J&K citizens, including an exemption from constitutional provisions governing other states. It also empowers the state legislative assembly to frame any law without attracting a legal challenge. Because of the allowance by Article 370, the state of J& K has its own Constitution.

The fresh petition has been submitted at a time when several petitions against Article 370 and 35A are pending before the apex court. The Supreme Court has deferred the hearing of the case to the second week of January after the Jammu and Kashmir government said it plans to hold panchayat elections in the state between September and December and a debate on the Article 35A could trigger law and order problems. Kashmir, Ladakh and parts of Jammu had observed shutdown several times for the last two months against any tampering with the legislation.

Two main political parties, the National Conference and People’s Democratic Party have announced that they will boycott the upcoming panchayat and municipal elections in the state unless the Centre clarifies its position on Article 35A of the Constitution, which is facing legal challenge in the Supreme Court.

The petitioner has claimed that Article 370 is “arbitrary and contrary” to Articles 14, 15, 16, 19, 21 and basic structure of the Constitution of India.

“Hence the said provision may be declared as void and inoperative,” he asked.

General Secretary of High Court Bar Association, advocate G N Shaheen said that there several “politically motivated” PILs of the BJP pending before the Supreme Court.

“These PILs have been filed to create a mess and embarrassment for people of Jammu and Kashmir. The Supreme Court shall not entertain any such PILs when several petitions are already pending on the same subject,” Shaheen said.

Earlier, a non-governmental organisation, We the Citizens, filed a petitioned in the apex court in 2014 to abolish the law on the grounds that it was “unconstitutional”.

The BJP along with several Hindutva groups have been demanding abrogation of Article 370 and 35A and has been in their political agenda.