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Pleas challenging Art 370 abrogation:SC hearing from Oct 1

Press Trust of India

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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.


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Increase fleet, frequency of JKRTC buses: LG

Monitor News Bureau

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Jammu, December 12: Lieutenant Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu today directed the Transport Department to increase the fleet as well as the frequency of Jammu and Kashmir Road Transport Corporation buses for the convenience of the general public across Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Lt. Governor passed these directions while reviewing the functioning of Transport Department in a meeting here at the Civil Secretariat.

Sh. BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Sh. Arun Kumar Mehta, Financial Commissioner, Finance; Sh. Bipul Pathak, Principal Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor; Dr. Asgar Hassan Samoon, Principal Secretary, Transport Department and Sh. Owais Ahmed, Transport Commissioner attended the meeting.

 

Emphasizing on efficient and effective operations, the Lt. Governor directed the officers to ensure optimum utilization of the existing fleet of buses. He observed that a rational deployment and notification of the scheduling of operational vehicles along with routes is prerequisite to improve transport connectivity.

The Lt. Governor directed the officers to identify hungry routes and increase the frequency and number of vehicles plying on such routes to meet the demands of the people. He also asked the department to devise a comprehensive plan for the creation of scrap yards for disposal of outdated and phased out vehicles.

Stressing on the importance of road safety, the Lt. Governor entrusted upon all the stake holders to take effective measures in order to reduce the rate of traffic related accidents with special focus on hilly areas.

The Lt. Governor further directed the officers to organize health camps for conducting regular health checkups of drivers and conductors of all JKRTC and other commercial vehicles. He further instructed them to keep a strict vigil to ensure that all vehicle owners must have third party vehicle insurance.

The Lt. Governor also enquired about the frequency of eco friendly public transportation plying on the routes of Jammu and Srinagar cities.

The meeting was informed that there are total 643 operative vehicles including 389 buses and 319 trucks in the existing fleet position of J&K Road Transport Corporation. The chair was also briefed about the recent initiative of Transport Department for the procurement of 40-Buses for Srinagar and Jammu cities and 36 Buses for hilly, accident prone areas.

Inaugurates ASSOCHAM’s J&K office

Monitor News Bureau

Jammu, December 12: Lieutenant Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu inaugurated the Jammu and Kashmir Office of ASSOCHAM- Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India here today.

During the inaugural function held at Radisson Blu Hotel, the Lt. Governor also held an interactive session with various industrialists and media fraternity.

The Lt. Governor said that the present dispensation is making several head ways towards attracting investments to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. He observed that through the upcoming Global Investors’ Summit, best sectors of J&K will be showcased to the world to open up the flow of investments to the Union Territory. The government is speeding up the development of various sectors and is also seeking private investments to make the Industry sector more vibrant, he added.

While answering a query on employment creation, the Lt. Governor said that a robust employment policy, which also includes self employment, is in the offing to boost the employment generation in J&K.

On startups, the Lt. Governor said that the Government is developing optimum IT infrastructure across J&K to render requisite support to the startup businesses. President, ASSOCHAM, B.K Goenka also committed that an IT Summit shall be held by the ASSOCHAM in near future.

The Lt. Governor further said that a comprehensive plan is underway to develop J&K into a medical tourism destination.

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Pluralistic ethos of JK to be beacon for generations to come: Adv Sharma

Monitor News Bureau

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Jammu, Dec 12: Advisor to Lieutenant Governor, KK Sharma today said that the pluralistic ethos of Jammu and Kashmir is a long and living example which can act as a beacon for generations to come all over the world.

The Advisor was speaking at a function organized by Funkar Cultural Organization and J&K Cultural Council to release a book titled ‘Hope in Despair (Stories of Courage in Kashmir)’  written by Sunanda Nehru Ganju.

Vice Chancellor Jammu University, Manoj Kumar Dhar, prominent writers, intellectuals and academicians were present on the occasion.

 

The Advisor said that the recorded history of Kashmir is replete with the examples of saints and seers who have through their writings and preaching been the icons of mutual brotherhood and pluralistic values.

While referring to the rich Reshi Order of the Valley, the Advisor said “Teachings of these great people have stood the test of time and they are more relevant in today’s context and the onus is now on us to ensure their propagation so that an era of peace prevails globally.”

The Advisor, while complimenting the author for bringing forth the stories of the people who have contributed immensely in catalyzing the socio-educational and cultural circles of the Valley, hoped that more authors and researchers would carry forward the work and come up with different books on related themes.

Vice Chancellor Jammu University, Prof Manoj Dhar also spoke on the occasion and complimented the author for coming up with the research oriented literature.

President JKCS, GR Hasrat Gadda, also spoke on the occasion and presented a brief about the book.

Pran Pandita, read a comprehensive paper about the contents of the book.

Later, the Advisor met a deputation of Laghu Udyog Bharti led by its present Rajinder Gupta who projected several issues related to medium and small industries in J&K.

The Advisor assured the deputation that the issues projected would be looked into for redressal.

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LG directs for restructuring of Tourism Dev Authorities

Monitor News Bureau

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Jammu, Dec 10: Lieutenant Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu Tuesday directed for rolling out the mechanism for the restructuring of Tourism Development Authorities across the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Lt. Governor passed these directions during a meeting he chaired to review the functioning of Planning, Development and Monitoring Department here at the Civil Secretariat.

 BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary;  Arun Kumar Mehta, Financial Commissioner, Finance;  Atal Dulloo, Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education;  Bipul Pathak, Principal Secretary to the Lieutenant Governor; Rohit Kansal, Principal Secretary, Planning, Development and Monitoring;    Khurshid Ahmad Shah, Commissioner Secretary, Public Works(R&B); Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Secretary PHE, I&FC ; M Raju, Managing Director, J&K Project Construction Corporation; Manzoor Ahmad Lone, Secretary, Horticulture Department; Ms. Sheetal Nanda, Secretary, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj;  Sarmad Hafeez, Special Secretary , Youth Services and Sports and senior functionaries of concerned departments attended the meeting.

 

Principal Secretary, Planning, Development and Monitoring, Rohit Kansal gave a detailed presentation on the progress of various projects under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) for J&K.

The Lt. Governor observed that there is a pressing need to revamp the tourism sector and directed the officers to assess the functioning of the Tourism Development Authorities in J&K and take necessary measures for restructuring the same.

Taking serious note of the delay in some of the Health Infrastructure projects, the Lt. Governor directed for fixing responsibility for the inordinate delays and initiating strict action against the erring officers. He further asked the officers to expedite the remaining projects under PMDP with clear timelines for their timely completion.

The Lt. Governor asked the officers to coordinate with Government of India regarding funds and submit the proposal to the concerned quarters for additional funds, if required, to complete the development projects in time.

Pertinently, Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) was announced for Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh in November 2015 with a total outlay of Rs 80, 068 cr with Rs 58, 625 cr allocated for Jammu and Kashmir for the completion of 54 major projects under the package, out of which 35 projects were to be executed by UT Administration and agencies while 19 projects were taken up by the Central Government.

It was further informed that a total of 15 projects under PMDP in J&K stand completed including projects like Chenani-Nashri Tunnel, Batote- Kishtwar-Sinthantop road, Jammu-Udhampur National Highway stretch. The meeting was also briefed that the upgradation work of MA Stadium is nearing its completion and the stadium is likely to be thrown open for the games within next few days.

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