SNS KASHMIR DESK
SRINAGAR, JULY ,4, 2023:
In a significant statement, IAS officer Shah Faesal declared that Article 370 is now a thing of the past for many Kashmiris, emphasizing that there is no going back.
Faesal, a prominent figure in Jammu and Kashmir, took to Twitter to express his perspective, stating, “(Article) 370, for many Kashmiris like me, is a thing of the past. Jhelum and Ganga have merged in the great Indian Ocean for good. There is no going back. There is only marching forward.”
His remarks come at a critical time, just days before a scheduled hearing of multiple pleas challenging the abrogation of Article 370 before a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court.
It is noteworthy that Faesal himself had filed a petition in the apex court to challenge the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian Constitution. However, in a recent development, it has been reported by news agency ANI that Faesal has withdrawn his petition. ANI tweeted, “Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer Shah Faesal, who had filed a petition in the Supreme Court challenging the Presidential Order to scrap Article 370, speaks to ANI, says he has withdrawn the petition a long time back.”
On July 11, a five-judge Constitution bench led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud will consider a batch of over two dozen petitions that seek to challenge the legal validity of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
This statement by Shah Faesal carries significant implications for the ongoing debates surrounding Article 370 and the reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir, capturing the attention of the nation.
According to a notice dated 3 July 2023 from the Supreme Court of India, the 5-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant will take up hearing the Writ Petition titled Shah Faesal and others versus Union of India and others at 10:30 am on Tuesday, 11 July 2023 for passing directions.
In March 2020, a five-judge Constitution Bench decided not to refer the batch of 23 petitions to a seven-judge Constitution Bench, despite some petitioners seeking a reference. The petitioners argued that two Supreme Court judgments – Prem Nath Kaul v. State of Jammu & Kashmir and Sampat Prakash v. State of Jammu & Kashmir— which were rendered by five-judge benches and dealt with the interpretation of Article 370, were in conflict with each other.
The 5-judge Bench declined the plea of reference to a larger Bench, decreeing that there was contradiction between the two old judgements. In February 2023, the pleas were mentioned for early hearing before Chief Justice Chandrachud who asserted that he would “take a call” on listing the batch of the petitions on abrogation of Article 370.
In a significant development on 30 June 2023, when CJI Chandrachud arrived in Srinagar for inauguration of the 19th All India Legal Services Authorities meeting, former J&K Chief Minister and President of Peoples Democratic party Mehbooba Mufti tweeted: “Welcome CJI to Kashmir. Article 370—a constitutional commitment of this nation to the people of J&K was illegally revoked. This despite earlier SC rulings against its abrogation. It’s been four years yet the matter is still pending before the honorable court”.
“Thousands of our youngsters are languishing behind bars without recourse to a trial. The process itself has become the punishment. J&K acceded to India out of choice & not compulsion. Then why is it being deprived of basic fundamental rights & guarantees given by the constitution itself? I earnestly hope your presence throws light upon these pressing issues”, Mehbooba addressed the CJI.
In his address at the inauguration, among others attended by CHI Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha argued that for almost seven decades, Article 370 prevented Central legislations from benefitting a large section of (the J&K) society. “It also denied benefits of legitimate citizenship to a sizable section of the society. Abrogation of Article 370 ensured social equity and inclusive development”.
Knowledgeable sources insist that an order was likely to be passed on 11 July on the J&K cadre IAS officer Dr Shah Faesal’s submission, seeking withdrawal of his petition against the abrogation of Article 370. If these well-placed sources are to be believed, a number of the petitioners, whose 23 petitions on the subject are under the hearing, are filing fresh petitions seeking withdrawal of their petitions.
The IAS topper of 2010, Shah Faesal, who resigned in January 2019 and launched his own political party under the title of “Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement” (JKPM) was among the first who filed petitions in the Supreme Court of India, challenging the August 2019 legislation by the Parliament. Faesal subsequently withdrew his resignation from IAS and petitioned the Supreme Court of India seeking withdrawal of his petition against abrogation of Article 370. A decision on his plea is currently under consideration.