Srinagar: Expresses its serious concern over the prevailing situation in the State, Kashmir High Court Bar association on Sunday said that constitutional bench decisions have left no scope for abrogating Article 370 or tinkering with Article 35-A.
Regarding delimitation, the Kashmir’s lawyers body said it was not also possible immediately, at least till 2031.
“The prevailing serious situation has been created by the unprecedented deployment of Paramilitary Forces in the valley, followed by advisories to Amarnath yatries, Tourists, students of National Level Educational Institutions and Polytechnic Colleges, asking them to cut short their stay in Kashmir and/or vacate the hostels immediately, giving rise to the speculations over the possibility of Abrogation of Article 370 and Scrapping of Article 35-A of the Constitution of India, which protects the special status to the State,” the lawyers’ body said in a statement issued here.
“There are at least four Constitutional Bench decisions of the Supreme Court of India, rendered in various cases including case titled Puran Lal Lakhanpal v. President of India (1962) 1 SCR and Sampat Prakash v. State of J&K (1969) 2 SCR 365, relating to the validity of Constitutional (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, whereunder, Article 35-A was incorporated in the Constitution of India and it was held that the said Order is constitutionally valid,” it said. These constitutional precedents of the Supreme Court of India, it said have attained finality and therefore, there is no scope for abrogating Article 370 or tinkering with Article 35-A, as the same would constitute a deliberate, intentional and willful disobedience of the orders of the Supreme Court of India, making the persons, responsible for such disobedience, liable for action.
“Govt. of India and all its civil and judicial institutions and authorities being bound to act in aid of Supreme Court and also to respect the verdict of the Apex Court and not to bring the said Court to disrepute, therefore, it is the duty of the Govt. of India and its institutions and agencies to obey the orders of the Supreme Court in letter and spirit and not to create any situation, where the Supreme Court of India, may be approached for taking action against the erring person.”
The lawyers’ body also stated that the controversy relating to the validity of the action to postpone the delimitation of territorial constituencies of State Legislative Assembly, until the relevant figures for the first census taken after the year 2026 have been published, has also been set at rest by a Division Bench of the High Court in case titled National Panthers Party v. Union of India (2010 (1) SLJ 1) and the said judgment having also been upheld by the Supreme Court of India and having attained finality is also binding on all the institutions and agencies. “As such, any attempt to alter or delete the 2nd Proviso to Section 47(3) of the Constitution of J&K, which was inserted in the Constitution by (Twenty Ninth Amendment) Act, 2002, providing that until the relevant figures for the first census taken after the year 2026 have been published, it shall not be necessary to re-adjust the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the State and the division of the State into territorial constituencies, would also constitute a violation of the orders of the High Court and the Supreme Court of India.”
The Bar association also stated that Kashmir is a political dispute and therefore it has to be settled politically and not militarily, keeping in view the wishes and aspirations of the people, who are yearning for its resolution, for the last seventy years. “During the course, they have suffered untold sufferings and miseries which have no parallels in the contemporary history.”
The Bar Association expects that both India and Pakistan should devise ways and means to de-escalate the tension in the region and by holding tripartite talks, make every endeavor to settle the Kashmir issue, peacefully and permanently, the statement added.