Day 2 Arguments: 28 August 2019
In the week of 5 August, the State of Jammu and Kashmir lost its special constitutional status, guaranteed to it by Article 370 of the Constitution. Over two days starting on 5 August, the Union government diluted Article 370, revoking J&K’s special status via two presidential orders. Then on 9 August, the Union Parliament bi-furcated the State of J&K into two Union Territories by passing the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
Several parties have filed petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370, praying for the court to declare the presidential orders and Reorganisation Act unconstitutional. On 16 August, the court briefly heard the petitions and found that six of them suffered from defects. It directed the parties to cure said defects. This week, a new petition was filed by the former IAS officer and politician Shah Faesal. Today, the court will hear this new petition and check on the status of the defective petitions.
Challenge to Article 370 abrogation
The court issued notice and directed the matter to be heard by five judge constitution Bench. ASG Tushar Mehta opposed the Bench issuing notice, saying that it would have negative cross-border implications.
Challenge to unreasonable restrictions on speech
The counsel for Anuradha Basin submitted that this was the 24th day of the information blockade [WP(C) 1031/2019]. The court issued notice (returnable in 7 days).
Pleas to visit family/friends in J&K
The court granted petitioner Mohammad Aleem Syed [WP(Crl) 225/2019] his request to see his parents in Kashmir. He had last communicted with them on 4 August and feared that they were being detained. Likewise, it allowed the general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Sitaram Yechury [WP(Crl) 229/2019], to enquire about his party colleague Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami. Yechury filed a habeas corpus plea as Tarigami is currently under detention in Kashmir. It is unusual for the court to respond to a habeas corpus plea by allowing the petitioner to visit the detained individual, instead of ordering the State to produce the individual in court. The court directed the SIP to facilitate appropriate curfew passes. Further, it ordered both individuals to file affidavits after returning from the Union Territory.