India's Kashmir move challenged in top court as curfew eased again

Indian paramilitary soldiers standing guard on a deserted street during curfew in Srinagar, Kashmir, on Aug 8, 2019.
Indian paramilitary soldiers standing guard on a deserted street during curfew in Srinagar, Kashmir, on Aug 8, 2019.PHOTO: AP

NEW DELHI (DPA) - A prominent party from India-administered Kashmir has appealed to the Supreme Court against the government's move to scrap the state's special status and split it into two territories, legal news portal Live Law reported on Saturday (Aug 10).

Curfew-like restrictions were eased again in most parts of the state's main city of Srinagar, senior officials said, after these were first relaxed for Friday prayers in the Muslim-majority Kashmir valley.

The petition by National Conference contended that the special status was given to the state under the Constitution and the presidential order to terminate it was constitutionally invalid, since the consent of the state assembly was not taken.

This is the first serious challenge in the Supreme Court against the government move since the National Conference is one of the two main regional parties and is considered an important stakeholder.

It remains to be seen whether the Supreme Court will admit the petition for consideration.

India's government earlier clarified that since the state assembly was suspended and the state was under the president's rule, the powers of the state assembly had devolved upon the Parliament, which passed legislation to split the state.

The government also contended that it used a provision under the same constitutional article that empowered the president to declare the special status inoperative anytime.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, also a former state chief minister, along with hundreds of politicians and activists are currently in police custody.

 

Thousands of security personnel have been deployed in the region in a security lockdown since Sunday to quell any violent protests after the decision.