In a significant move, CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami on Friday filed a plea in the Supreme Court, seeking early hearing of writ petitions challenging the Government of India's unilateral revocation of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution that guaranteed special status to the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir. The writ petitions filed by National Conference and other political parties and interest groups in 2019 had sought that the apex court do away with presidential orders from August 5 and 6, 2019, that ended J&K's special status. It had sought that the subsequent Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act be declared “unconstitutional, void and inoperative”.
Tarigami, in his petition, noted that in spite of the fact that the presidential orders of August 5 and 6 are subjudice, “the Central government has, inter alia , taken the following reversible actions…” The petition notes these actions as the constitution of a delimitation commission to mark boundaries in the territory for all the constituencies before an Assembly election can be held, the amendment of the J&K Development Act to allow persons who are not permanent residents to buy land in J&K, and the closing down of institutions such as the J&K State women’s commission, the J&K accountability commission and the J&K State Human Rights Commission.
The petition argued that in light of the Centre's detrimental measures in J&K, the writ petitions of 2019 “ought to be heard on an expedited basis, otherwise the petition itself would be rendered infructuous”.
Tarigami's move comes three days after the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) in a convention held on August 24, passed a resolution seeking the restoration of J&K’s constitutional position as on August 4, 2019.
“Articles 370, 35-A and full statehood has been our constitutional position and the constitution of J&K, which was abolished unconstitutionally, be restored. This is our basic charter and demand,” Tarigami, a senior figure in the PAGD and its spokesperson, had said at the time.
The PAGD resolution and Tarigami's petition to the Supreme Court are being seen as the Gupkar leaders’ efforts to tap the fast-changing geopolitical contours in the Af-Pak region that is expected to have a spill-over ramification in Kashmir.