New Delhi, Sep 28: The Supreme Court on Saturday set up a five-judge Constitution bench head by Justice N V Ramana to hear a batch of pleas related to abrogation of Article 370 provisions that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
The Bench will begin hearing the matter from October 1.
From the beginning of next month, the bench will commence hearing to examine the constitutional validity of the scrapping of the article’s provisions and the subsequent presidential orders on it, an official source said.
While referring to the batch of petitions to the Constitution bench, a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi in August had said the larger bench will commence hearing on the issue in the first week of October.
Several petitions have been filed challenging the Centre’s decision abrogating the Article 370 provisions and bifurcating the state into Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The UTs will come into being on October 31.
Petitions have also been filed by the National Conference, the Sajjad Lone-led Peoples Conference and several other individuals, including the first plea filed by advocate ML Sharma.
Besides the bench for hearing Article 370 matters, the apex court has also constituted a three-judge bench for hearing matters on capital punishment and two other benches, comprising two judges each, to hear tax matters.
The petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 will be heard by a Constitution Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana. The other judges on the Bench will be Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai and Surya Kant.
Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, who is ethnically a Kashmiri, is on the Bench to decide the issue. Three of the Judges on the Bench, Justices NV Ramana, BR Gavai, and Surya Kant are future Chief Justices of India.
A three-Judge Bench of Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, and Justices SA Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer had on August 28, referred the issue to a five-Judge Constitution Bench.
The first petition in this regard was filed by advocate ML Sharma.
Subsequently, a Kashmiri lawyer, Shakir Shabir had approached the Supreme Court of India challenging the Presidential Order of August 5. It was his argument that amendment to Article 367 which resulted in the scrapping of Article 370 could not have been done in the manner in which it was done. It could have been done only by the Parliament.
Subsequently, two Lok Sabha MP, Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi belonging to the Jammu & Kashmir National Conference Party had approached the Supreme Court challenging the Presidential Order of August 5.
Further, retired Military Officers and bureaucrats have also filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India challenging the Presidential Orders.
Besides the above, notice has also been issued in a petition filed by Soayib Qureshi, a permanent resident of Jammu and Kashmir and a practising lawyer in the Supreme Court.
The first step to the removal of Article 370 came on August 5, when the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 2019, was introduced to supersede the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 1954. The 1954 Order had listed out provisions of the Constitution of India that would not apply to Jammu and Kashmir.
In its place, the 2019 Order introduced on Monday provided that all provisions of the Constitution of India will apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, with a few exceptions and modifications.
Though the power to abrogate or modify Article 370 was conferred with the President under clause (3) of the Article, there was a pre-condition to the same – concurrence by the Constituent Assembly of the State of Jammu & Kashmir. The Constituent Assembly had, however, ceased to exist as far back as in the 1950s.
In order to get over this hurdle, the Presidential Order under challenge here, had amended Article 367 to replace the reference to Constituent Assembly under Article 370(3) to mean Legislative Assembly.
Subsequently, the President had issued another order on August 6 making Article 370 redundant.
The Presidential Order of August 5 also paved the way for the introduction of the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 which bifurcated the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories – Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir, and Union Territory of Ladakh.
Reorganisation of state: JK, Ladakh to have separate budgets for 5 months
Srinagar, Oct 11: Jammu and Kashmir and, Ladakh will have separate budgets for five months after they will be officially declared Union Territories on November 1.
A source in the Finance Department said that government has directed the planners to frame a “development-oriented” budget for five months from November 1 to March 2020.
“We had to reframe the budget which was approved in April for the fiscal 2019-2020. We have received proposals from all departments and the budget is expected to be finalized by October 25 for the next five months,” the source said.
An official document accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveals that budget for the current financial year has been segregated in two parts –– seven months from April to October as state of J&K and five months from November to March 2020 as UTs.
Sources said the government wants a “people friendly” budget since it will be the first finance bill post abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into two union territories.
Government has also announced a schedule for discussion on budget proposals from October 14 to 18 for remaining part of the financial year and 2020-21. This time the government has started the process two months early in a bid to give ample time to the planners for preparing budget for next fiscal.
Sources said earlier Finance Department would get less time to finalise the budget as the administrative departments were usually submitting their proposals in November. “The proposals for next fiscals have been received and the discussions will start from October 14,” source said.
Source said departments have also provided year wise list of number of daily wagers and casual workers from 2015 to 2018 for the discussions.
The departments have also provided details about the contractors pending liabilities for carrying out major developmental works.
The heads of departments have also furnished the details about the number of regularized daily wagers who have been adjusted against available vacancies.
Kashmir situation:Jammu bizmen incur 500 cr loss in two months
Srinagar: Forget Kashmir, Jammu businessmen are facing the brunt of the lockdown.
Jammu’s fruit traders are the worst hit by the current crisis in Kashmir. The winter capital’s otherwise busiest Narwal Fruit Mandi is currently receiving only 200 to 250 apple trucks against 500 trucks during normal times.
“Basically there is very less business activity in Kashmir. The entire apple produce is sold in local Mandis of Kashmir, which has hit business in Jammu,” Rajesh Gupta, former president of Jammu Fruit Dealers Association, Narwal, told The Kashmir Monitor.
Gupta noted that the communication clampdown has compounded the problem as they could not contact their counterparts in Kashmir.
“For the last two months, we have not been able to contact our dealers and growers in Kashmir. Even we don’t know when trucks will reach Jammu. We fear prices of apple may drop further,” Gupta said.
Traders claim that post abrogation of article 370, industrial sector of Jammu alone have suffered Rs 500 crore loss.
“Jammu and Kashmir is an intra-state economy and there is a major dependence of Jammu traders on the Kashmir market. Everything, except ration and medicine, has been hit in the state. There is a slump in the business currently, which might take time to recover,” said Rakesh Gupta, President Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industries
Traders claim that the manufacturers of the region have been unable to recover payments from their customers in Kashmir.
“We have no contact with the buyers in Kashmir. Payments worth crores of rupees are held up with the traders in the valley and the complete figure is quite difficult to assess,” a trader from Jammu said.
In Kashmir, the losses, as per the estimates of Kashmir Chamber of Commerce & Industries (KCCI), have crossed over Rs 6,000 crore in the last more than two months after the Centre abrogated Article 370 and 35A .
Disposal of bio-medical waste goes hi-tech
SPCB allots bar codes to healthcare centers
Srinagar: Technology has come handy for State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) to monitor disposal of bio-medical waste in healthcare centers in Kashmir.
Under the new system, SPCB has allotted bar codes to healthcare centers in Kashmir to ensure proper disposal of bio-medical waste.
According to Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules 2016, every healthcare facility has to establish a bar code system for bags containing bio-medical waste (BMW) to be sent out of the premises or place and disposed through common Bio-medical Waste Treatment Facility (CBMWTF).
Official documents accessed by The Kashmir Monitor reveal that the bar code system will help in tracking and identification of waste from source of generation to intended destination for final treatment and disposal.
“The code will also create real time online monitoring of waste generation, collection, transportation, treatment and disposal. That way regulatory agency can get instantaneous data on bio-medical waste management of a particular healthcare center or common Bio-medical Waste Treatment Facility (CBMWTF),” read the documents
Officials said barcode system will also help in controlling the pilferage of recyclable bio-medical waste. Bio medical waste including needles, injections, amputated body parts and cotton swabs contain a number of infectious bacteria and need to be handled carefully, official said.
Dr. Sabeena, senior scientist and head of biomedical waste management cell at SPCB, said bar codes have been allotted to major healthcare centers in Srinagar, Kulgam and Shopian districts so far.
“The allotment of bar codes to rest of healthcare centers is underway and will be completed in a week’s time,” she said.
Director State Pollution Control Board Kashmir (SPCB) Rafi Ahmad said the main objective of bar code system is to develop high health index.
“The bar code shall be made operational on restoration of internet services. The infrastructure and facilities required for implementation of the bar code system are being put in place in such institutions of the state,” he said.