Article 370: ‘File affidavit pledging allegiance to constitution’ Centre asks NC’s Akbar Lone

Supreme Court of India

The Central government on Monday expressed displeasure before the Supreme Court and demanded an affidavit from National Conference leader Mohammad Akbar Lone, one of the petitioners challenging the abrogation of Article 370, who had allegedly raised ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogan in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.
At the outset of the hearing in a batch of pleas challenging abrogation of Article 370, an advocate appearing for NGO ‘Roots in Kashmir’, a Kashmiri Pandit group, raised the issue before a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud saying he has filed an affidavit about a “startling fact” which came to his knowledge.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre urged the top court that Lone should file an affidavit asserting that he owed allegiance to the Constitution of India and oppose terrorism and secessionist forces by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.
“He must come on record. He is the petitioner in the lead petition. He is not an ordinary man. He is a member of Parliament. Despite it being brought to the notice of the court if he does nothing it might encourage others. The efforts of the nation to bring in normalcy which is substantially successful might be affected. Coming from responsible leaders it has its own seriousness,” the Solicitor General said.
The bench also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai and Surya Kant said it will seek a statement from Lone when his turn for rejoinder arguments in the case comes.
The apex court said it has gone through the report published in the newspaper and taken note of the submissions made before it.
NGO ‘Roots in Kashmir’ has filed an affidavit in the top court alleging Lone, who was a member of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly from 2002 to 2018, had shouted ‘Pakistan zindabad’ on the floor of the House and had refused to apologise for an act.
It alleged that Lone was known as “a supporter of secessionist forces operating in Jammu and Kashmir which support Pakistan.”
The NGO said Lone had often openly made pro-Pakistan statements and probably that explains his opposition to challenge any move that brings the people of Jammu and Kashmir on par with the rest of the country.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal is appearing for Lone in the case.
The Constitution bench is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcating the state into two Union Territories.
On August 5, 2019, the Central government announced the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under Article 370 and split the region into two Union territories.