SRINAGAR: Senior Congress leader and former union minister, Prof. Saifuddin Soz Tuesday said that the petition of RSS before the Supreme Court (SC), seeking revocation of the Article 35-A of the constitution of India has assumed further dimensions with portents of considerable importance to the J&K State.
In a statement issued to PTK, Soz said, “The RSS and its designs should not distract our attention from the fact that we live in a democratic country where a sound judicial system is in shape.”
“Now that another petition has been lodged by some West Pak Refugees in Jammu, before the Supreme Court, also seeking revocation of Article 35-A, the people of the state should take notice of this development.
In fact, the Refugees want protection of their rights as permanent residents under Article 35-A,” he said, adding that “I think I must plead with the people of Jammu and Kashmir State to remain steadfast when the system wants to respond to the aspirations of certain sections of society including the Refugees.”
Meanwhile, he said that “certain concerned citizens have sought clarification from me on why the J&K Govt. had not implemented the Resettlement Bill that was declared to be a law by the Supreme Court of India.”
“The constitution bench comprising Justices Syed Shah Qadri, N. Santosh Hegde, S.N. Variava and Shivraj V. Patil, the Bench ruled on 15th November, 2001 that under the provisions of the Article 143, the reference made to the court 18 years earlier by the then President Gyani Zail Singh, be returned respectfully without any advisory opinion, as the Bill had become a law.
As early as 1982 when the J&K Legislative Assembly had passed it for the second time and the then Governor had accorded his necessary assent to it,” he said, adding that the retiring Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Adharsh Sen Anand was himself on board on this issue with the Constitution Bench.
Notably, a prominent Jurist Ram Jethmalani had led the team of lawyers from the J&K State, before the Supreme Court.
“The national and international press had characterized this development as a victory for Dr Farooq Abdullah, the then Chief Minister of the State.
These concerned citizens also asked my opinion on why the then Government did not adopt legal Course when the Union had un-authorizedly rejected the Autonomy Resolution passed by the J&K Legislative Assembly,” he said, adding that “I explained to these quarters that while people of Jammu had shown solidarity with Kashmir on both these Constitutional measures, the then State Govt. hadn’t implemented these Resolutions.
My simple answer to these concerned citizens was that these happen to be the right questions and answers to these must certainly be sought.”
He further said that responsible quarters must properly brief lawyers, particularly Fali Nariman, who is, otherwise, an advocate of high standing and integrity on the related issues connected with Article 35A.