The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to urgently hear a petition challenging the Presidential order on Article 370 of the Constitution, PTI reported. The plea was filed on Tuesday by advocate ML Sharma, who claimed that the Presidential order was illegal as it was passed without taking consent from the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.
The state does not have an Assembly at present after it was dissolved last year, and is under President’s rule.
During the hearing of his petition, Sharma said the matter was urgent as Pakistan might take it to the United Nations and then “we will lose Kashmir forever”, Bar and Bench reported. Ramana rejected his request, asking, “Can UN stay Indian Constitution’s amendment?”
The court told Sharma that his plea would be heard in due course.
The top court also refused to urgently hear another petition filed earlier on Thursday against the decision to impose stringent restrictions in Jammu and Kashmir after provisions of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution were repealed. Justice NV Ramana asked the petitioner, Tehseen Poonawalla, to mention it before Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi.
Advocate Suhail Malik, representing Poonawalla, said that he was not giving his opinion on Article 370 but was seeking withdrawal of the curfew or restrictions imposed in the region. The lawyer said that people needed to talk to their family and had a right to know that they were safe.
Poonawalla sought withdrawal of curfew, restrictions and other measures such as blocking of communication services in Kashmir. He also requested a direction from the Supreme Court to release political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir, including former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. He sought the appointment of a judicial commission to look into the ground realities of the region.
“I am absolutely for my Indian Constitution in Kashmir,” Poonawalla tweeted. “This means as per Keshavnanda Bharti [judgement] : Article 21 can’t be suspended. I am moving honourable Supreme Court to request the Government of India to ensure NO LIVES are lost. India is 1st, as is her constitution. We must ensure this.”
Poonawalla clarified that he was in favour of “watering down of Article 370” and the application of the Indian Constitution. “This means as per Article 21 the right to life, liberty and healthcare and food is fundamental,” he said. He further added that he hoped the Centre would make food and medical services accessible to the residents of the Jammu and Kashmir, which was their fundamental right.