SRINAGAR:  The petitions challenging the nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution could be taken up for hearing soon as Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Friday said he would take a call on their listing.

“I will take a call on it,” according to newspaper The Tribune the CJI told senior advocate Raju Ramachandran who mentioned the matter and sought listing of petitions against doing away with Article 370 which gave a special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir that also used to include Ladakh.

Earlier, the CJI had said that he would examine and give a date for listing of petitions, challenging abolition of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into union territories, which have been hanging fire for more than three years.

On September 23 last year, CJI Chandrachud’s predecessor Justice UU Lalit had agreed to take up these petitions after the 2022 Dussehra vacation but the matter hasn’t been taken up for hearing so far.

The Supreme Court had on February 13 dismissed a petition challenging notifications for delimitation of assembly constituencies in the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, saying “there is absolutely no merit in any of the contentions raised by the petitioners”.

A Bench of Justice SK Kaul and Justice AS Oka had, however, clarified that it had not ruled on the validity of the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which is pending before another Bench.

The top court had on August 28, 2019 referred petitions challenging Presidential Orders nullifying Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into union territories to a five-judge Constitution Bench. In March 2020, it had refused to refer it to a larger Bench of seven judges.

There are around two dozen petitions challenging the Presidential Order nullifying Article 370, including those by Delhi-based advocate ML Sharma, Jammu and Kashmir-based lawyer Shakir Shabir, National Conference Lok Sabha MPs Mohammad Akbar Lone and Justice Hasnain Masoodi (retd), bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal and his party colleague Shehla Rashid.

There is another PIL filed by former interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir Radha Kumar, Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak (retd), Major General Ashok Mehta (retd), and former IAS officers Hindal Haidar Tyabji, Amitabha Pande and Gopal Pillai, who have urged the top court to declare the August 5 Presidential Orders “unconstitutional, void and inoperative”.

As the petitions didn’t get listed after March 2, 2020, former Jammu and Kashmir MLA Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami had moved the Supreme Court in August last year seeking an early hearing of petitions challenging the validity of abrogation of special status of the erstwhile state.


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