Jammu and Kashmir: Five-judge SC bench to hear pleas challenging abrogation of Article 370 in October

The Supreme Court on Wednesday constituted a five-judge Constitution bench to hear all petitions related to Article 370. The bench will hear all the petitions in the first week of October. The Narendra Modi-led government had on August 5 revoked the special status provided to Jammu and Kashmir. Article 370 was a temporary provision in the Indian Constitution that provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir. After the Centres move, a number of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the resolution that was presented in the Parliament were filed before the top court. Home minister Amit Shah also moved a bill to divide Jammu and Kashmir into 2 Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. Amit Shah said that the decision had been taken in view of the prevailing internal security situation, cross border terrorism in the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir. Both the resolution and the reorganisation bill were cleared by the Parliament on the same day. The Supreme Court deciding to hear the petitions in October could allow the government to enforce the Indian Constitution in Jammu and Kashmir. Representing the government on Wednesday, Tushar Mehta repeadtedly requested the court to not issue a formal notice to the government. Mehta said that doing so would have cross-border repurcussion, reported the Hindustan Times. The apex court also sought a detailed response from the Centre within 7 days on the plea by Kashmir Times executive editor, Anuradha Bhasin, seeking a direction for relaxing restrictions on the internet, landline, and other communication channels. The government had imposed Section 144 of CrPc across Jammu and Kashmir. Section 144 prohibits assembly of more than four persons in an area where there is likelihood of breach of peace and disturbance of public tranquility. Restrictions had also been imposed on mobiles, internet and other communication channels.