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J&K: 5-judge Constitution bench to hear plea against Modi govt’s move on Art 370



The Supreme Court today (Wednesday, Aug 28) referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench the petitions challenging the Narendra Modi government’s revocation of special status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into two Union Territories.

The bench of CJI Ranjan Gogoi, Justice SA Bobde and Abdul Nazeer issued notice in the matter while fixing the first week of October to hear it. The court also sought a response from the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir administration.

“We will refer the matter to a five-judge Constitution bench”, the bench said while not accepting the arguments that the issuance of notice will have a “cross-border repercussion”.

The government, represented by Attorney General KK Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, were urging the court to exercise restraint as far as orders and oral observations on Jammu and Kashmir were concerned.

“Notice is issued for the purpose of intimating parties to be present for the hearing. We are already here”, said Mehta, adding that “it had repercussions in other countries”. Ramachandran wondered how the court issuing notice in the normal course “can embarrass anyone”.

Mehta replied that it “doesn’t embarrass anyone, but other countries are taking advantage”. Attorney General KK Venugopal also urged the court not to issue a notice saying “this is a very serious issue”.

As the counsel appearing for both sides were involved in arguments and counter-arguments, the bench said, “We know what to do, we have passed the order, we are not going to change”.

“Let all the petitions on Article 370 issue go to a five-judge Bench for hearing,” Chief Justice of India (CJI)Ranjan Gogoi, heading the three-judge Bench, said.

The CJI indicated the Constitution Bench may start hearing the matter from October beginning.

On communication blackout in Kashmir

The bench also issued notice on the petition by Kashmir Times Executive Editor Anuradha Bhasin challenging what she claimed was the “communication blackout” in J&K.

Her petition sought a relaxation of restrictions and to allow journalists “to practise their profession and exercise their right to report freely on the situation prevailing in J&K after clampdown on the entire State on August 4, 2019”.

Bhasin, represented by senior lawyer Vrinda Grover, described the ground situation as that of “absolute and complete Internet and telecommunication shutdown, severe restrictions on mobility and sweeping curtailment on information sharing in the Valley, at a time when significant political and constitutional changes are being undertaken in Delhi to the status of J&K”.

She said the information blackout was “fuelling anxiety, panic, alarm, insecurity and fear among the residents of the Kashmir”.

Also Read: J&K: Modi govt sets up 5-member Group of Ministers to draw up development plan

Yechury allowed

The three-judge Bench also allowed Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), to visit Jammu and Kashmir to meet his party colleague MY Tarigami.

Yechury, represented by senior advocate Raju Ramachandran, said he wanted to meet Tarigami as there was no news of him. He wanted to know about the welfare and whereabouts of his colleague.

Mehta saidTarigami’s health was monitored every day and “he is hale and hearty”. “What can happen to him [Tarigami]? He is provided Z-category security.”

“Whether he has Z or Z Plus category, if a citizen wants to go and meet him, you have to let him,” Chief Justice Gogoi told Mehta.

Mehta said the government would make arrangements to escort Yechury.

The Chief Justice retorted, “You don’t escort, he [Yechury] will go on his own.”

Chief Justice Gogoi also agreed to Ramachandran’s assurance that Yechury would give an undertaking to limit his trip to J&K only to meet Tarigami and not travel around.

“If he does that, you report back to us,” the Chief Justice told Mehta.

Others petitions on Article 370 and J&K

National Conference leaders, and a Kashmiri lawyer are among the petitioners that have challenged the Centre’s August 5 decision to scrap Article 370.

The various petitions include one by the National Conference party challenging the Centre’s “unilateral” move to impose curfew and unravel the unique federal structure of India by dividing Jammu and Kashmir “without taking consent from the people,” IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal, activist Shehla Rashid, Advocate ML Sharma and a plea by young lawyer Mohammed Aleem Sayed, worried about his aged parents in the Valley.

The petition filed by detained politician Shah Faesal and Shehla Rashid Shora contended that the August 5 Presidential Order and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act of 2019 were arbitrary. They also challenged the proclamation of President’s Rule in the State in December 2018.

The three-judge Bench allowed the young lawyer Sayed to meet his parents. It asked the State to provide him adequate protection. The court took up his case first.

The main petitionschallenge the Centre’s sudden move to “unilaterally unravel the unique federal scheme, under cover of President’s Rule, while undermining crucial elements of due process and the rule of law”.

They said what happened to Jammu and Kashmir “goes to the heart of Indian federalism”.

The NC petition said, “National integration is best served by a pluralistic federal model. Under this model, one size need not always fit all.”

The petitions said the Presidential Order substituted the concurrence of the Governor for that of the State government to change the very character of a federal unit.

The Presidential Order took cover of a temporary situation, meant to hold the field until the return of the elected government, to accomplish a fundamental, permanent and irreversible alteration of the status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir without the concurrence, consultation or recommendation of the people of that State, acting through their elected representatives, they said.

They argued that the order used Article 370 to demolish Article 370. It amounted to the overnight abrogation of the democratic rights and freedoms guaranteed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir upon its accession.

The basic purpose of Article 370 was to facilitate the extension of constitutional provisions to the State in an incremental and orderly manner, based upon the needs and requirements, without dismantling the State Constitution.

The August 5 order, by replacing the recommendation of the ‘Constituent Assembly’ with that of the ‘Legislative Assembly’ in order to alter the terms of Article 370, assumed that the Legislative Assembly of the State of Jammu and Kashmir had a power that its own Constitution, under Article 147, denied to it. Thus, the August 5 order was ineffective, the petitions said.

India News

Government making sincere attempts to draft laws in Indian languages: PM Modi at International Lawyers Conference

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also stressed on the paramount role lawyers and the judiciary have played in shaping India’s legal system and maintaining law and order.



Government making sincere attempts to draft laws in Indian languages: PM Modi at International Lawyers Conference

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday addressed the International Lawyers Conference at Vigyan Bhawan in Delhi. He expressed his gratitude to the legal fraternity for their substantial contribution to the country’s independence movement and its continued progress. 

Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Modi asserted that his government is making sincere attempts to draft laws in a simple manner and in Indian languages to the maximum extent. He added that the legal fraternity plays a very important role in the building of any country. For years, the judiciary and Bar have been the patron of India’s law and order, he continued.

The Prime Minister noted that the Indian government is thinking that law should be produced in two ways: one draft will be in the language that the lawyers are used to and the second draft will be in a language which the country’s common man can understand. He added that the common man should consider the law his own.

Narendra Modi further highlighted the traditional Indian practice of conflict resolution through Panchayats, which, he said, has been ingrained in the country’s culture for decades. He also mentioned that to formalize this age-old system, the government recently enacted the Mediation Act, a move that aims to put forth a regulated structure to the informal conflict resolution process.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also stressed on the paramount role lawyers and the judiciary have played in shaping India’s legal system and maintaining law and order. He voiced that India completed 75 years of independence recently. In the fight for independence, the legal fraternity played a huge role. Many lawyers left their practice to join the independence movement, he continued.

The Prime Minister also pointed out that the International Lawyers’ Conference coincided with multiple historic developments in India, including the passage of the women’s reservation bill and the successful landing of the Chandrayaan-3 mission on the south pole of the Moon.

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India News

Kabaddi player Hardeep Singh shot dead in Punjab, chopped body parts thrown outside his house

The incident gained attention when the athlete’s chopped-up body parts were found in front of the murdered Kabaddi player’s house.



A shocking incident has been reported from Punjab’s Kapurthala district where a kabaddi player Hardeep Singh was reportedly shot dead a few days ago. The incident gained attention when the athlete’s chopped-up body parts were found in front of the murdered Kabaddi player’s house, as per the reports.

The shocking incident has caused Sukhbir Singh Badal, the leader of Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), to express sharp disapproval. The SAD leader slammed the Bhagwant Mann-led Aam Aadmi Party government, alleging that there is a ‘jungle raj’ in Punjab.

Badal asked CM Mann to step down following the incident.

SAD chief Bada took to X, formerly Twitter and hit out at the Maan government. He said it is shocked to learn about the brutal killing of a young Kabaddi player at Vill Dhilwan in Kapurthala. Badal said looking at the level of fearlessness of the murderers, they knocked at the door and told the parents “Aah maar ditta tuhada Sher putt”. This isn’t an isolated incident. There is a complete Jungle Raj prevailing in Punjab, where murders, loot, snatchings and robberies are becoming an everyday affair, the SAD chief said in a tweet.

He further added that it’s a proven fact that CM Mann is unable to handle the situation. He should step down without any further delay.

As per the reports, there is no arrests have been made in the case so far.

On Thursday, Sukhbir Singh Badal met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and talked about the India-Canada conflict. During their meeting, Badal expressed hope to Home Minister Amit Shah for a quick resolution to the disputes between the two countries. Badal highlighted that many Punjabis reside in the affected areas and the deteriorating relations are causing them anxiety and distress.

Badal stated to reporters that it is distressing to hear about the problems faced by Punjabis, including many Sikhs, due to the deteriorating relations between the two countries

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India News

Maharashtra: Severe waterlogging in Nagpur, central forces deployed for rescue operations

The National Disaster Response Force carried out flood water rescue operations and safely evacuated six people in the Ambajhari Lake area in the city.



Maharashtra: Severe waterlogging in Nagpur, central forces deployed for rescue operations

Maharashtra’s Nagpur city witnessed severe waterlogging after incessant rains in the area. Heavy rains lashed Nagpur city from Friday midnight, inundating low-lying areas and prompting measures to shift people from these pockets to safer places.

Many areas such as Canal Road Ramdaspeth, Ambajhari Lake area witnessed severe waterlogging. As per the weather department, Nagpur airport recorded 106 mm of rainfall till 5.30 am.

The National Disaster Response Force also carried out flood water rescue operations and safely evacuated six people in the Ambajhari Lake area in the city. According to reports, after overnight heavy rains, the administration declared a holiday for schools as a precautionary measure.

In addition, the Nagpur Municipal Corporation has also issued helpline numbers for citizens and advised people not to step out of their homes unless for important work. Deputy Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, took to X, formerly Twitter to share that he is continuously monitoring the rain situation in the city.

Devendra Fadnavis asserted that Ambazari lake has overflowed due to heavy rains in Nagpur last night and water has entered some areas. He added that the collector informed him that there was more than 100 mm of rain in just 4 hours. He further affirmed that Nagpur Collector, Municipal Commissioner have reached the spot and necessary measures are being taken immediately. 

The Deputy Chief Minister continued that instructions have been given that the citizens stuck in the low-lying areas should be helped first. He noted that one team of NDRF and two teams of SDRF have been deployed for rescue operations. He also affirmed that they are constantly in touch with the administration and are monitoring the situation.

The Nagpur centre of the India Meteorological Department (IMD) has forecasted severe and moderate thunderstorms with lightning which will likely continue at isolated places in Nagpur, Bhandara and Gondia districts. It noted that there is also a possibility of intense rain at isolated places in these areas. 

The weather department underlined that light to moderate rainfall is expected to take place at multiple places in Wardha and some parts of Chandrapur, Bhandara and Gondia districts. Furthermore, light rainfall is very likely to occur at isolated places over Amravati, Yavatmal and Gadchiroli, it added.

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