New Delhi, Aug 18 : As the Modi government imposed severe restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir putting the people in caged houses, a section of retired senior bureaucrats and defence personnel who have served in or been associated with Jammu and Kashmir have filed a joint petition in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of the president’s amendments to Article 370 and the J&K Reorganisation Bill.
The petition states that it is imperative to ascertain the will of the people of the state for the abrogation of Article 370 .
Stating that the Indian government’s move undermines “the very basis on which the state of J&K had integrated into India,” the petitioners have argued that the presidential order for the same is constitutionally invalid and it “violates the basic principles of democracy, federalism, and fundamental rights.”
The petitioners include retired Air Vice Marshal Kapil Kak, Retired Major General Ashok Mehta, Radha Kumar who was a former member of the Home Ministry’s Group of Interlocutors for J&K and former IAS officers Hindal Haidar Tyabji, Amitabha Pande and Gopal Pillai. The petition was drafted by advocates Arjun Krishnan, Kaustubh Singh and Rajalakshmi Singh.
Tyabji, Pande and Pillai are former high-ranking bureaucrats. Kumar is a former member of the Home Ministry’s Group of Interlocutors for Jammu and Kashmir (2010-11), as well as an academic and policy analyst for over 20 years.
This is the seventh petition challenging the abrogation of Article 370 that has been filed in the Supreme Court. Six other petitions regarding the same are pending before the apex court.
The petition states,”Article 370(3) of the Constitution requires the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir to recommend a presidential notification under Article 370(3) declaring that Article 370 shall cease to be operative”. It adds that since the constituent assembly of the state no longer exists, it couldn’t have made such a recommendation, as per the India Today report.
Kak and Mehta are retired defence personnel. While Kak, a Kashmiri Pandit and permanent resident of the state, is a decorated officer who has served as the Air Vice Marshal, Mehta has held postings in Uri Sector, south of the Pir Panjal in Rajouri and has fought in the 1965 as well as 1971 Indo-Pak war. Mehta has also served in the Kargil and Ladakh sectors.