Supreme Court forms five-judge constitutional bench to hear petitions challenging abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir

Mehbooba Mufti's was detained at her house with CRPF vehicle blocking the entrance: (Photo by Rifat Jawaid)

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued notices to the central government and others stating that a five-judge Constitution Bench will hear all the petitions related to the abrogation of Article 370, in the first week of October. The bench headed by the Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi rejected the government lawyer’s argument that the top court sending notices on the issue of Kashmir will have ‘cross-border repercussions.’

The bench also comprising Justices SA Bobde and SA Nazeer, according to NDTV, said, “We know what to do, we have passed the order, we are not going to change.”

The top court also allowed CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury to visit Jammu and Kashmir to meet his party leader and former MLA, Yousuf Tarigami. According to news agency ANI, Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi said that Yechury’s visit to the valley should only be to meet his MLA and not for ‘anything else.’

“We will permit you to go, you are the general secretary of a party. Don’t go for anything else,” CJI Gogoi was quoted by news agency ANI.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta raised objections saying that only family members should be allowed as the situation was getting normal but the top court, according to Livelaw website, declined.

Yechury was the part of the opposition delegation led by Rahul Gandhi on 24 August. The delegation comprising Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Ghulam Nabi Azad, KC Venugopal, and Anand Sharma, Yechury, D Raja from the CPI, Dinesh Trivedi of the Trinamool Congress, the RJD’s Manoj Kumar Jha and Sharad Yadav from the Loktantrik Janata Dal among others was stopped at the Srinagar airport. They were later forced to return to Delhi.

The apex court also issued a notice to the Centre on the plea by Kashmir Times Executive Editor, Anuradha Bhasin, who sought a direction for relaxing restrictions on the internet, landline and other communication channels. The Supreme Court sought a detailed response from the central government within seven days.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday started hearing a host of petitions questioning the validity of the Central Government’s decision to remove special status of Jammu and Kashmir and abrogating Article 370.