'Appoint J&K HC judge in SC to hear Article 370 pleas'
A Maharashtra legal activist on Tuesday said that the Supreme Court must elevate and include a sitting judge from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to hear the various petitions filed before the apex court challenging the government's abrogation of Article 370 and deletion of 35A.
Pune-based activist Asim Sarode sent a letter to the Chief Justice, the Collegium designated with the duty of appointing judges, the President and the Prime Minister.
"For all these years, there was no representation of judges from Jammu and Kashmir in the Supreme Court, but now since the strength of judges has been increased from 31 to 33, there are vacancies in the apex court. Hence, we have requested the Chief Justice of India to elevate the senior-most judge from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to the Supreme Court," Sarode said.
As per the latest developments and certain media reports, the activist said all the judges of Jammu and Kashmir High Court shall be re-administered the oath of allegiance to the Indian Constitution, and hence will be bound to uphold the supremacy of only 'The Constitution of India'.
"We have also requested that the judge from Jammu and Kashmir, who is a local who is aware of the entire matter, besides knowing the pulse of the people of that erstwhile state, should be involved in the hearing of all matters related to Article 370 and 35A," Sarode told IANS.
He pointed out that participation of a legal luminary from Jammu and Kashmir will add an important perspective on how Article 370 and 35A will impact the lives of people, or whether its deletion is good, and such participation will be of immense help as there are some who believe the decision may have an adverse impact.
"A judge who hails from the region and has spent his entire life there understands the ground realities, actual social, cultural, economic and political impact and significance of such decisions better, and can view issues from a wider spectrum that others may overlook," Sarode added.
He made it clear that while this was not intended to "undermine the intelligence, sensitivity of fairness of other honourable judges", but by including a judge from Jammu and Kashmir High Court it could make the decisions more "inclusive" and the country could derive the benefit of their first-hand experience in the matter.
As per current indications, around half-a-dozen petitions have been filed in the apex court from different parts of India, including Jammu and Kashmir, challenging the government's move on Article 370 and 35A and are likely to come up for hearing in due course, Sarode concluded.
A lawyer since 18 years, Sarode, 48, was awarded the global fellowship of Social Change Makers from Washington for his work in judicial reforms, human rights analysis and Constitution protection.
In March this year, he was invited to address the United Nations Human Rights Council Meeting in Geneva, where he spoke on the violation of human rights in various spheres. IANS