Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru once remarked, ‘Events crowd in upon us in such quick succession that we are apt to miss their true significance.’ This is particularly true of the most unhealthy drift of events in the Supreme Court of India in recent times. The customary reverence formerly paid to judges of the Supreme Court is being systematically deflated. Pernicious attacks on the judiciary have become commonplace. Many are made by political parties and politicians. In fact, some politicians who are distinguished members of the Supreme Court Bar, see enormous mileage in pursuing that course. But even beyond politicians, the attacks have been made with impunity by the media, academicians and limbs of the law. Significantly, one such political leader and senior member of the Bar went to the extent of saying on 8th August, 2022 that he had no hopes from the Supreme Court and further that, ‘The reality is such that any sensitive matter which we know has a problem is placed before certain judges and we know the outcome.’ This immediately drew a sharp critical response from the Union Law Minister Kiran Rijiju who bewailed that that this was ‘very very sad for the entire country’ and asserted that, ‘Our government is absolutely clear in its mind that the country must be governed by the constitutional proprieties as well as the rule of law. Any kind of attack on the constitutional authorities and the courts is very unfortunate and condemnable.’ And yet another well known politician lawyer on 11th August, 2022 accused the Supreme Court of abdicating its responsibility to protect fundamental rights and contended that the independence of the Supreme Court was seriously under question. It is indeed lamentable that such personal and political attacks, led by politicians, politician lawyers and lawyers, have gone too far, nay crossed the ‘Lakshman Rekha’. They have sometimes been devised to undermine the fundamental independence of judges of the highest judiciary, even to attempt to daunt judges or to sway the outcome of cases and to depreciate their irrepressible impartiality and integrity. The unconquerable power of democracy and the Rule of Law are being sought to be subverted and subjugated in a most sinister and malicious manner. Behind the façade of the attacks on the judiciary, I see the evil hand of certain political parties to dislodge the smooth functioning of the highest court of the land by means foul rather than fair.
In the United States, the most disconcerting feature has been the intensely political character of such attacks. Of particular concern has been the appearance of national political leaders, furtively looking around for themes for their electoral campaigns and selecting easy targets of the judiciary as a means of promoting themselves as uncompromising on law and order. In this context, the eminent Birmingham lawyer and the 1996-1997 President of the American Bar Association, N. Lee Cooper once observed that the biggest challenge to the justice system of the United States was ‘the continuing attack upon our federal judiciary’.
In the United Kingdom, from whose judiciary common law countries like India ultimately derive their model, the esteem paid to Her Majesty’s judges has lately begun to wane. Even The Times, once the bastion of the Establishment in Britain, not so long ago, demanded that a new Chief Justice be appointed who could ‘steer his profession away from the sound of gunfire’.
The attacks on the highest judiciary in the United States and the United Kingdom seem positively mild by comparison to those which have impaired the Australian judiciary in the recent past, particularly after the High Court of Australia, the nation’s federal supreme court, decided that the native title to land of the indigenous peoples of Australia was not, as a matter of law, necessarily extinguished by the pastoral leases granted by the Crown under the statute over vast areas of the Australian continent starting with the 19th century. Consequently, politicians in both Federal and State Parliaments fiercely competed with each other to attack the Court and especially the majority judges. The derogatory comments of politicians soon became the launching pad for academic and media chastisement. The courts and the judges were labelled ‘bogus’, ‘pusillanimous and evasive’, guilty of ‘plunging Australia into the abyss’, purveyors of ‘intellectual dishonesty’ and bodies ‘packed with feral judges’. These insidious attacks eventually induced defences of the High Court of Australia by judges and retired judges, organised legal professionals, leading members of the Bar, members of parliament and others. Sir Francis Gerard Brennan, the erudite Chief Justice of Australia, was perforce constrained to write a private letter to the former Deputy Prime Minister Tim Fischer to correct the erroneous assertion, made publicly, that the Court had deliberately dragged its feet in the pastoral leases case. This letter was promptly seized upon by journalists and was given widespread publicity. Later, at a series of legal conferences, the celebrated Chief Justice of Australia Sir Anthony Frank Mason spoke of the dangers of such sustained attacks on the judiciary. There was also the concern that such an unrelenting barrage of criticism and deprecation would, if unabated, dilute the community’s confidence in the courts and acceptance of court decisions.
For anyone wishing to view the index of American equivalents to the Australian catalogue of verbal fusillade hurled at the judiciary, a worthy starting point is an alarming article by Justice Joseph W Bellacosa of the New York State Court of Appeals. ‘Screwballs’ is the kindest of the epithets! Justice Bellacosa concludes, ‘Judges can take criticism, I am very confident, but whether the public interest can stand and absorb mal-informed, drum-beaten and heated attacks on the judicial process is worth pause and reflection.’
The internationally renowned jurist Reuven ‘Ruvi’ Rivlin, who served as the tenth president of Israel between 2014 and 2021, once aptly asserted, ‘There is no, and cannot be, any situation in which we don’t respect the law and the judiciary. It is unacceptable to attack the courts; criticism is allowed, but attacks are not. It shakes the basis of our democracy.’ In a democratic society, some criticism of the judiciary is inevitable. This is especially so at a time when there is a growing understanding of the inescapable choices which are open to judges. Just as decisions of the other branches of the government attract criticism, important and controversial decisions of the courts will inescapably do the same. Into this ambience has been impregnated the technology of the modern media of communications. Unless there is a measure of restraint, the judicial institutions will be damaged and judicial integrity debilitated. The following features of the recent attacks on the judiciary have been distinctly intemperate. The personal targeting of identified judges. The attempt to intimidate them or to deflect them from fidelity to their oath of office to decide each case strictly on its merits. The unrelenting character and partisan political aspect of the attacks. A censurable feature of the barrage which cannot pass unnoticed is the manner in which a woman judge, who was the first lady judge to have been honoured with a well-deserved elevation straight from the Bar to the Bench, was singled out for a studied attack by a senior lady member of the Bar in April, 2018 before her swearing in. Targeting judges, identifiable because of their sex, race or other minority considerations, attacking them by over-simplified and inaccurate generalisations, caters to public prejudice. Such conduct is unworthy of our country that indefatigably claims to uphold fundamental rights and the rule of law. In the face of the onslaught, and under fire, there are a few strategies available to the judiciary. It would be a reprehensible judicial response to cave in to the pressure and to do exactly what the politicians, editorialists or other powerful interests desire. This would be a complete abdication of the judicial system. It, therefore, rests increasingly on the organised legal professionals to defend the judiciary, to correct blatant misinformation and to remind politicians, the media and others of the precious heritage of judicial neutrality and independence which we have enjoyed so proudly. In India, independence and conscientiousness are cherished features of the judiciary. It is important that institutional protection for those features should be sustained. Political attempts to undermine them should be spurned. Leaders of the legal profession, irrespective of their personal political leanings, should speak up where judges are unjustly assailed by politicians and others for carrying out their independent role. The increasingly adversarial and belligerent nature of our public should not become contagious to the erosion of the balanced relationship of the judiciary with other branches of the government. Legislators, members of the Executive Government and the judiciary should realise that each branch has its own distinct part to play, without which constitutional government would falter and fail. It was out of recognition of that danger that the people of England banished King James II from the shores of their ‘blessed plot’ in 1688, and prevailed upon his successors, William and Mary, to accept the Crown upon certain conditions. One of the conditions was judicial tenure and independence. When this condition was not extended equally to the British colonies, the colonists and settlers complained and, in America, rose up in revolt in 1775. They instituted, at least in the federal judiciary of the United States, a firm guarantee of tenure and independence of the judiciary. We in India are the fortuitous beneficiaries of these two revolutions of 1688 and 1775. It will be extremely difficult to redress the mischief that concerted attacks on the apex court and individual judges can cause. Such attacks often portray a fundamental lack of understanding of what judges do, what they do not do and why they exist in our form of democratic society. The remedy should start in the schools and through the media. It should not be confined to law faculties and educational institutes alone. A renewed emphasis on the teaching of civics is the urgent need of the hour. It must be an objective of the coming millennial that we disseminate the gravamen of our constitutions and engender an informed appreciation of the judiciary and its paramount importance for the sustenance of a peaceful and stable government. Not unrealistic or blind faith. Not confidence wrenched by the threat of legal enforcement. Not admiration won by deft public relations and media hype. But a genuine desire to protect and preserve the rule of law and the dignity and majesty of the highest court of the world’s largest working democracy. In this context, it would not be out of place to mention that our first President Dr. Rajendra Prasad, himself an outstanding lawyer, described this ‘noble edifice’ as the ‘Temple of Justice’ on the occasion of the inauguration of the new Supreme Court building on 4th August,1958 in the august presence of Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Vice President Dr.Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, Chief Justice Sudhi Ranjan Das, his son-in-law Asoke Kumar Sen, the Union Law Minister and my senior and guru, Lok Sabha Speaker Ananthasayanam Ayyangar, and Attorney General Motilal Chimanlal Setalvad.
In conclusion, I am highly emboldened to commend to readers the stern message delivered by Justice Jamshed Burjor Pardiwala of the Supreme Court at the 2nd Justice HR Khanna Memorial Symposium on 3rd July, 2022, ‘Personal attack on judges for their judgements lead to a dangerous scenario where the judges have to think about what the media thinks, rather than what the law actually says. This puts the rule of law on the burner..Social and digital media is primarily resorted to expressing personalised opinions more against the judges, rather than a constructive critical appraisal of their judgments. This is what is harming the judicial institution and lowering its dignity…This is where digital and social media needs to be regulated throughout the country to preserve the rule of law under our Constitution…in India which cannot be defined as a completely mature or defined democracy, social media is employed frequently to politicise purely legal and constitutional issues.’
BRIEF NOTE ON THE AUTHOR
The author is an internationally reputed senior lawyer practising in the Supreme Court of India and various High Courts and Tribunals in India. He has been closely associated with some of the topmost Indian corporates like Tata Sons Ltd., Tata Consultancy Services Lt., Tata Steel Ltd., Reliance Industries Ltd., ITC Ltd., ICI India Ltd. and Hindustan Unilever Ltd. as a lawyer and advisor. He addressed a select gathering of MPs and other eminent persons in the House of Lords in February,2009 and was awarded the prestigious “Ambassador of Peace Award”. In April,2009, he was also invited to the House of Commons. He was also invited by Chatham House and by the Universal Peace Federation in London several times. He is an avid debater, public speaker, writer, broadcaster, telecaster, artist, painter, sculptor, music critic and filmmaker. He is also an indefatigable lover of western classical music and has one of the largest private collections of western classical music in India.
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CESTAT: Registration Of Premises Not A Necessary Prerequisite For Claiming A Refund Under Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004
The Delhi Bench of the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) in the case M/s. Selling Simplified India Private Limited Versus Commissioner of CGST, East Delhims observed and has held that the registration of premises is a necessary prerequisite for claiming a refund under Rule 5 of the Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004.
The bench comprising of Judicial Member, Rachna Gupta observed and has stated that the service providers are entitled to a refund under rule 5 of the Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004 when the output service is exported.
In the present case, the appellant is engaged in rendering taxable services of business support to the following group companies, i.e., Selling Simplified Group, Selling Simplified Inc, Selling Simplified Ltd., U.K. and three of the companies are located outside of India. It is availed by the appellant that the Cenvat credit for input services used to render the said output service as they are paying service tax on such input services. Thus, on 22.12.2016, the appellant filed a refund claim for Rs.9,97,364 under Notification No.27/2012-CE(NT) dated 18.06.2012, issued under Rule 5 of the Cenvat Credit Rules, 2004, along with several documents.
It was observed by the department that the appellant had centralised service tax registration for the premises but had claimed some input service credit for the services utilised at the unregistered premises. Some of the export invoices were also raised from the unregistered premises. However, with these observations, the department formed the opinion that the appellants should get registration for their Noida premises also. A ‘Show Cause Notice’ was issued by the department proposing the rejection of the refund claim.
It was contended by the appellant that the export invoices were issued by the appellant from an address that is not part of the centralised registration. Further, the address mentioned in the invoices is Noida; hence, the Commissionerate does not have jurisdiction to decide the refund. The group of companies and the appellant to whom the Appellant had provided business support services are simply the establishments of a single individual.
It was held by the CESTAT that the show cause notice is a foundation on which the department has to build its case and it should be specific and contain all relevant details so that an assessee will be able to give a reply to specific allegations made in the show cause notice. As since the issue of jurisdiction was not specifically taken in the show cause notice, the adjudication on this point against the assessee is not sustainable. Since, the appellant admittedly has centralised registration in terms of subclause (2) and (3) of Rule 4, and the Noida unit was not required to be registered.
Supreme Court: No Bar To Withdraw Admitted CIRP Application Before Constitution Of Committee Of Creditors-IBC
The Supreme Court in the case Ashok G. Rajani vs Beacon Trusteeship Ltd. Observed and stated that there is no bar to withdrawal of an admitted CIRP application before constitution of Committee of Creditors.
The bench comprising of Justice Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari observed and has stated that the settlement cannot be stifled before the constitution of the Committee of Creditors in anticipation of claims from third persons, against the Corporate Debtor.
It was observed by the court while dismissing the appeal against NCLAT order which gave the parties the opportunity to settle their disputes before the Adjudicating Authority (NCLT) in terms of Section 12A of the IBC reading with Rule 11 of the National Company Law Tribunal Rules, 2016 (NCLT Rules).
Further, the bench noted that Section 12A of the IBC enables the Adjudicating Authority to allow the withdrawal of an application admitted under Section 7 or Section 9 or Section 10, on an application made by the applicant with the approval of 90% voting shares of the Committee of Creditors in such a manner as it is specified.
The court stated that Section 12A of the IBC clearly permits withdrawal of an application under Section 7 of the IBC that has been admitted on an application made by the applicant. Thus, the question of approval of the Committee of Creditors by the requisite percentage of votes, can only arise after the Committee of Creditors is constituted. In our view, before the Committee of Creditors is constituted, there is no bar to withdrawal by the applicant of an application admitted under Section 7 of the IBC.
Further, the court noted that Rule 11 of the NCLT Rules enables the NCLT to pass orders for the ends of justice including order permitting an applicant for CIRP to withdraw its application and to enable a corporate body to carry on business with ease and should be free of any impediment.
While dismissing the petition, the court stated that considering the investments made by the Corporate Debtor and considering the number of people dependant on the Corporate Debtor for their survival and livelihood, there being no reason why the applicant for the CIRP, should not be allowed to withdraw its application as once its disputes have been settled. However, the settlement cannot be shifted before the constitution of the Committee of Creditors in anticipation of claims against the Corporate Debtor from third persons. Thus, the withdrawal of an application for CIRP by the applicant would not prevent any other financial creditor from taking recourse to a proceeding under IBC and the urgency to abide by the timelines for completion of the resolution process cannot be stated as a reason to stifle the settlement.
Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi Declines To Be The Next Attorney General For India
The Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi has declined to be the next Attorney General for India. The offer made by the Central Government in that regard is turned out by him.
On September 30, the term of the incumbent Attorney General for India KK Venugopal is ending. However, there were reports that Rohatgi was going to take the AG’s mantle after Venugopal.
In June 2017, Rohatgi had earlier resigned as the Attorney General after serving for three years. Venugopal was appointed as the AG for a term of three years after Rohatgi and he was given one year extension each in 2020 and 2021. This year on June 29, AG Venugopal’s term was extended by three more months by the Union Government. Thus, there were reports that Venugopal had requested the Government to not further extend his tenure citing health problems, and the Government requested him to continue for three more months.
Hijab–Fight for rights or religion..?
Hijab controversy took grounds in Karnataka after the Udupi College issued guidelines for the academic year in July 2021 prescribing a uniform dress code.
In September six students (who later became the lead petitioners in the Karnataka High Court) complained of discrimination by teachers against them on religious grounds. By December, their complaint had taken the form of protest that drew intervention of entire country. The very Primary and important issue under consideration of Supreme Court is whether Hijab is a fundamental right or mere a religious practice.
As of now, a settle law position says that even though right to religion is covered under Art. 25 of the constitution and art 19- Right to Speech and 21- Personal Liberty of the constitution but can it be excluded or included in under ‘Reasonable Restriction’ of the fundamental rights. However, to consider any religious practice under Art 25 of the Constitution must fall within the ambit of ‘Essential Religious Practice”.
Before we get into the issue lets see what the Holy Quran Say on Hijab-
How does the Quran address the issue of Hijab-
Term Hijab is reiterated seven times in the Quran referring each time exactly to the same means Curtain, Separation, mask but the verse that has been most often used to prove the obligation of veiling for women and mentions the term Hijab is as under-
“ O you who have been believed, do not enter the houses of the prophet except when you are permitted to meal…. And when you ask (his wives) for something, ask then from behind a separation (Hijab) Quran 33;53.
As it indicates here, the Hijab concerns only the wives of the prophet and meets a circumstantial requirement in order to respect the private life of Prophet. Besides, it does not represent, in anyway, a particular model of clothing.
It is therefore, quite clear that the term Hijab does not absolutely refer to the meaning given nowadays. Hence it could be ascertain that Hijab is not an essential in Islam.
IS HIJAB ESSENTIAL IN ISLAM?
Before considering the issue, it is pertinent to know whether Hijab fall under essential right in Islam or not?
Many Islam Scholar would say that Head Cover is mandate in Quran however while answering the same Karnataka High Court referring ingredients of Article 25 of the constitution concludes that Hijab is not essential part of Islam. Art 25 of the Constitution guarantees a person the freedom of conscience and the right to freely profess, practice, and propagate her religion. But this fundamental right is subject to public order, morality and health. This is not an absolute right.
UNIFORM VS FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT-
School Uniforms are form of secular democracy, it demonstrate secular and homogeneous in the Schools and colleges therefore achieves constitutional secularism. Therefore Fundamental rights cannot be claimed against School Uniforms. Therefore, The Karnataka High Court ruled, “We are of the considered opinion that the prescription of the school uniform is only a reasonable restriction constitutionally permissible, which the students cannot object to.”
Judicial Review – Essential Religious Practice
The hon’ble Supreme Court and High Courts have ample time interpreted the law regarding religious beliefs and practice of religion, however, every time the courts might have opined in different way but all the opinions are based on same foundation called “ Essential Religious Practice The Hon’ble Supreme Court first discussed the concept of ‘Essential Religious Practice’ in the case of Commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras v. Shri Lakshmidar Thirtha Swamiyar of Shri Shirur Mutt AIR 1954 SC 282. In the said case, the Supreme Court distinguished ‘secular practices’ from ‘religious practices’ and held that the latter alone is protected by article 25 of the Constitution. The ‘religious practice’ must be essential to the religion itself.
The Supreme Court further elaborated that the Essential part of a religion means the core beliefs upon which a religion is founded. Essential practice, in a religion, means those practices that are fundamental. It is on these essential practices that the superstructure of the religion is built on without which any religion will be no religion. The test to determine whether a part or practice is essential to a religion is to find out whether the nature of the religion will be changed without that practice. If the taking away of that part or practice could result in a fundamental change in the character of that religion or in its belief, then such part could be treated as an essential or integral part.
In order to understand whether the practice of wearing a Hijab satisfies the test of Essential Religious Practice, it is important to further study the judicial developments in this regard.
In the case of Javed and Ors. v/s State of Haryana and Ors. (2003) 8 SCC 369, a challenge was laid to the Haryana Panchayati Raj Act disqualifying anyone with more than 2 living children from holding specified offices in the Panchayat. The Petitioner, a Muslim by faith, submitted, amongst other grounds, that his personal laws permitted him performance of marriages with up to 4 women for the purpose of procreating children and restriction thereof would violate Art 25 of the Constitution of India. The Hon’ble Supreme Court held that such a protection can be claimed only if the same forms an Essential Religious Practice. The Hon’ble Court further held that what is permitted or prohibited does not become a positive tenet of a religion and that a practice does not acquire sanction simply because it is permitted. The Hon’ble Court concluded by holding that the same can be regulated or prohibited by Legislation in the interest of public order, morality, and health.
In the case of Khursheed Ahmed Khan v/s State of UP and Ors. (2015) 8 SCC 439 the Supreme Court affirmed the principle propounded in the Javed Ali case (supra.). In the instant case, the Petitioner challenged the UP Government Servants’ Service Conduct Rules, 1956 that provided for removal of government servants for proven misconduct of contracting another marriage during the subsistence of an already existing one. The challenge to the rule by the Petitioner was that it was permissible for Muslims to enter into marriage with 4 women and as such the said service rules violated his Fundamental Rights under Article 25 of the Constitution of India. The Hon’ble Supreme Court while referring to a plethora of judgements including the Javed Case (supra.), negatived the plea and held that Art 25 was subject to public order, morality, and health and further went on to hold that polygamy was not an integral part of the religion and monogamy was a reform within the powers of the State under Art 25 of the Constitution of India. Holding so, the Hon’ble Court dismissed the Petition and upheld the service rule
To conclude with the issue of Hijab will have to undergo the test of ‘Essential Practice of Religion’. And in such case I feel the issue has very little chances of recognizing Hijab as ‘Essential religious Practice’ and if the petitioners fail to convince the court, it would then, remain as religious practice but not essential religious practice.
(Author is columnist and practicing advocate at Bombay High Court)
Allahabad High Court Quashes POSCO Case: If Husband/Accused Is Convicted Then Victim/Wife’s Future Would Be Ruined
The Allahabad High Court recently in the case Rajiv Kumar v. State of U.P. And 2 Others observed and has recently quashed an FIR and criminal proceedings in a POCSO case registered against a man as it noted that the accused man and victim-wife (who was a minor at the time of the incident) married the accused/ applicant out of her own sweet will and is living a happy married life with him.
The bench comprising of Justice Manju Rani Chauhan observed that to punish punish the offenders for a crime, involved in the present case, is in the interest of society, but, at the same time, the husband is taking care of his wife and in case, the husband is sentenced and convicted for societal interest, then, the wife will be in great trouble and it would ruin their future. Thus, it is also in the interest of society to settle and resettle the family for their welfare, the bench quashed the rape-POCSO case against the accused.
Facts of the Case:
The Maternal Uncle of the Victim lodged an FIR against the accused under Sections 363, 366, and Section 376 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860and Section 3/4 of the POCSO Act, alleging that the accused had raped the victim (then a 17-year-old minor).
Further, the accused moved the instant Section 482 CrPC petition seeking to quash the instant FIR. Also, the victim appeared before the Court and had submitted that her maternal uncle had lodged the FIR in an attempt to ruin her married life.
It was further stated by her that she has entered into a compromise with the accused and has married him out of her free will, and consent, and without any external pressure, coercion, or threat of any kind. Before the court, it was also submitted that that out of their wedlock, they are blessed with a male child, who is presently four and half years old and as per her date of birth and at the time of marriage she was nearly 17 and half years old.
It was submitted by the Applicant-Accused that on account of the compromise entered into between the parties concerned, all disputes between them have come to an end, and therefore, further proceedings are liable to be quashed in the present case.
Observations Made By Court:
In the present case, the court noted that though the offence under the relevant sections 363, 366 and 376 of IPC and Sections 3/4 of POCSO Act are not compoundable under Section 320 Cr.P.C, however, adding to it, the court stated that the power of the High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C is not inhibited by the provisions of Section 320 Cr.P.C and the criminal proceedings as well as the FIR can be quashed by exercising inherent powers under provision of Section 482 Cr.P.C, if warranted in given facts and circumstances of the case for ends of justice or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court, even including the cases which are not compoundable where parties have settled the matter between themselves.
The court while considering the facts and circumstances of the case, and also the submissions made by the counsel for the parties, the court came to the considered opinion that the victim herself, has stated before this Court that out of her own sweet will, she has married the applicant and is living a happy married life and out of their wedlock, the couple are blessed with a male child. However, no useful purpose shall be served by prolonging the proceedings of the criminal case as the parties have already settled their disputes.
Accordingly, the court quashed the charge sheet and the cognizance order as well as the entire proceedings of the Criminal Case were hereby quashed. Thus, the application was allowed.
SC likely to hear next month pleas related to Article 370
A Supreme Court constitution bench is expected to hear a slew of petitions related to Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) semi-autonomous status before it was repealed in August 2019. Chief Justice of India (CJI) Uday Umesh Lalit said on Friday that the petitions will be heard after the Dussehra holiday.
When senior advocate Prashanth Sen asked the CJI to list the matter, Justice Lalit responded, “We will certainly list that…it will be listed after Dussehra break.” From October 3 to 10, the court will be closed for Dussehra.
The petitions were last heard in March 2020, when a five-judge panel declined to refer the case to a larger panel. The reference was requested because previous court decisions on the subject were in conflict with one another. This contention was rejected by the bench.
At the time, the bench was aware of an older batch of petitions pending in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Articles 370 and 35A, which granted J&K special status. It was stated that all issues concerning Article 370 should preferably be heard together.
National Conference legislators, former bureaucrats, and some organisations are among those who have objected to the repeal of Article 370. Some petitioners cited the Supreme Court’s 2018 decision, which stated that Article 370 had gained permanent status.
Many petitions have also been filed against the Jammu and Kashmir State Reorganization Act, which calls for the division of J&K into two Union Territories.
Despite opposition from the central government, which argued that Article 370 had international and cross-border implications, the Supreme Court issued notices on the petitions on August 28, 2019. The Centre also claimed that it is a highly sensitive issue, and that whatever happens in the country will be brought up at the United Nations. While issuing notices in 2019, the court referred the case to the five-judge constitution bench.
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