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Article 370: 5-judge constitution bench to hear Article 370 petitions in October; SC sends notice to centre

Article 370: 5-judge constitution bench to take up Article 370 cases in the first week of October.

Aug 28, 2019 11:50 IST
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Article 370: The Supreme Court has referred cases challenging the scrapping of Article 370 to a five-judge constitution bench. Article 370 petitions will now be heard in the first week of October. Article 370 provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir and after its withdrawal, the state was divided into two Union Territories. 

The Supreme Court bench headed by CJI Ranjan Gogoi and comprising Justices S A Bobde and Abdul Nazeer delivered the ruling on August 28, 2019. The Supreme Court also issued notices to the centre on all petitions related to the scrapping of Article 370 and the restrictions imposed on the media in the state and has sought reply within 7 days.

Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta argued that the issuance of formal notices could have international repercussions with other countries trying to take advantage of the situation. Attorney-General KK Venugopal also agreed to the argument, saying that it was a sensitive matter, being taken up in the United Nations.

The Supreme Court said that while the petitions related to withdrawing of Article 370 will be heard in the first week of October, cases regarding issuance of media restrictions in J&K will be heard within a week. The Supreme Court also refused a request from the centre to appoint an interlocutor for Jammu & Kashmir.

Further, while hearing CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury's petition, in which he seeks to meet his CPI(M) MLA Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami, the Supreme Court stated that no citizen can be stopped from going anywhere. Yechury in his petition said that the MLA, who has been detained in J&K, is unwell and they are currently unable to contact him. So, the CPI(M) leader sought to meet him and bring him to Delhi for treatment if need be. 

While's Yechury's counsel argued that the concerned MLA, whose residence is in Srinagar, is not traceable, Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta argued that the MLA has Z category security, so he is not missing. To this, the CJI said, "Z category or not, if a citizen wants to go to any part of the country you cannot stop him."

The Supreme Court then granted permission to the CPI (M) President Sitaram Yechury to go to Kashmir and visit his party general secretary. However, the court warned that the leader can only go there to meet Tarigami and "nothing else", otherwise it would be treated as a violation of court order. 

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