December 2019 News

Former Bureaucrat Shah Faesal & Activist Shela Rashid Contest Government Move On Jammu & Kashmir In Apex Court

10 December 2019
The Economic Times
Samanwaya Rautray

New Delhi: Former bureaucrat Shah Faesal and activist Shela Rashid on Tuesday contested in the Supreme Court the legality of the central government move to strip the former state of Jammu Kashmir of its special status in the Indian Union and carve it up into two separate union territories (UTs), on the ground that it lacked the backing of the will of the people as reflected through their elected representatives. The move was carried out while the state was under Presidents Rule. A five-judge bench of the court led by Justice NV Ramana, began hearing arguments against the decision four months after it was done. The state has since been under a complete lockdown activists say, a charge the government has denied. The government insists that everything is normal in the state. The hearing ironically began on a frivolous note with lawyers jostling with each other for space in a jam-packed court. Senior advocate Raju Ramachandran opened the arguments for former bureaucrat Shah Faesal and Shela Rashid both of whom have earlier critiqued the move. Raju Ramachandran argued that the move was undemocratic and had no precedent in post-Independent India. The senior advocate argued the Union government could not have taken temporary cover of Presidents Rule to completely extinguish a state out of existence. He urged the court to decide whether such a fundamental, permanent and irreversible alteration can be done in the federal structure without any participation of the elected presentations or any other institutions duly established by the law. Ramachandran argued that the central government could not have done this in a manner violating the constitutional prescribed procedure for bringing about a change in Article 370. The President in this period can use this power to remedy a situation where the governance of a state cannot be carried on in accordance with the Constitution, he argued. This power contemplates transfer of legislative and executive powers of the state to Parliament and the President, respectively, but not the constituent power.