Indian SC hearings on Kashmir’s special status to begin Aug 2


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court (SC) of India has decided to commence hearings on August 2, of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 which revoked the special status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

In August 2019, India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had revoked the special status of Kashmiris in IIOJK by repealing Article 370 of the Indian constitution. This gave India’s citizens the power to buy land or settle in IIOJK, in a move that was seen worldwide as an impingement on an already marginalised population.

The move was already challenged in the SC by Indian Chief Justice Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud. A five-member bench of the Indian SC will now hear a series of petitions on a daily basis starting August 2.

The five-member bench will decide on the validity of the bifurcation of Article 370.

The SC also modified the cause title of the case as – In Re Article 370 of the Constitution. Earlier it was titled Shah Faesal and Ors Vs Union of India and Ors.

Shah Faesal, who is an Indian bureaucrat and the first Kashmiri to top the Indian civil services examinations, was one of the lead petitioners when it was originally submitted four years ago. He has since distanced himself from the case and asked his name to be removed.

The court directed the parties to file written submissions on or before July 27.

The petitioners hope that the 2019 decision will be declared null by the SC.

In a statement to Indian media, the former chief minister of IIOJK Omar Abdullah said that the proceedings “were just the beginning”. He hoped that the SC decision would come soon without further unnecessary delays.

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