New Delhi, Sep 30: Referring a clutch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir to a Constitution Bench, the Supreme Court said that the matter will be taken up for hearing Tuesday as the bench does not have time due to daily hearings in the Ayodhya case.
The petitions include the pleas filed by Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin against the communications blockade, and by child rights activists against the “illegal” detention of children in the newly-formed Union Territory.
Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi said the bench did not have time to hear the petitions because of the daily hearings in the Ayodhya case, adding that the Constitution Bench on Kashmir would take up “all issues from tomorrow”.
“We do not have the time to hear so many matters. We have the Constitution bench case (Ayodhya dispute) to hear,” he said.
A five-judge Constitution Bench will hear the petitions from Tuesday, reported Bar and Bench. The pleas have challenged the communication blockade in the state, the alleged illegal detention of children, and the impact of restrictions on healthcare.
The “Kashmir Bench” of Justices NV Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, Bhushan Gavai and Surya Kant will also take up a new petition filed by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami challenging the validity of the revocation of the state’s special status.
The Supreme Court referred a plea filed by Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin and an application by child rights expert Enakshi Ganguly and Shanta Sinha to the Constitution Bench.
In her affidavit, Anuradha Bhasin claimed that the “information blackhole” was still continuing in the Valley. In an additional affidavit on September 4, Bhasin had said though the administration claimed that restrictions were being withdrawn, movement of journalists in Srinagar was still curbed.
On August 28, the Supreme Court had asked the Centre and the state administration to respond to Bhasin’s petition within seven days. Earlier, on August 16, the Supreme Court had said it would like to give the government a little more time to review the situation.
Child rights activists Ganguly and Sinha had last week sought clarity about reports of children being illegally detained by security forces. They had alleged that they could not file a plea in the High Court because the shutdown and restrictions on public movement.
The court also issued a notice to the Centre on a petition demanding the restoration of high-speed internet services and landline phones across all hospitals and medical facilities in Jammu and Kashmir, reported ANI. The communications blackout was imposed on August 5 to quell resistance against the Union government’s move. On Sunday, Union Home Minister Amit Shah had claimed that there were no restrictions in the state. The Bharatiya Janata Party leader added that the lack of a phone connection was not a human rights violation.
The court, however, dismissed Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Vaiko’s petition seeking the release of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President Farooq Abdullah from detention, reported PTI. Vaiko had said Abdullah was due to attend a conference on the birth anniversary of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister CN Annadurai in Chennai on September 15. (Agencies)