Supreme Court to hear petition against J and K Resettlement Act

December 7th, 2007 - 7:29 pm ICT by admin  

By Ramesh Ganjoo
New Delhi, Dec.7 (ANI): The Supreme Court has announced that it will hear a petition pertaining to the validity of the Jammu and Kashmir Resettlement Act.
Rejecting the counsel of the Jammu and Kashmir Government, Anis Suhrawardy’s plea that the hearing of the case be adjourned for another six months because of the controversy surrounding it, the apex court said it would be heard at the earliest.
Chief Justice K.G.Balakrishnan accepted the plea of Professor Bhim Singh, who is representing the petitioner, the Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party, that the draconian law was responsible for the rise of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir, and its continued existence was a threat the security and the sovereignty of the country.
The Resettlement Act was enacted by National Conference Government headed by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in September, 1982.
Professor Bhim Singh, who opposed the bill in the Assembly, was expelled by the Congress and the State Assembly on the request of the Congress Legislature party. Mr. B.K. Nehru, the then Governor of J and K refused to sign the bill and referred it to the President of India. The then President of India, Giani Zail Singh, referred it under Article 143 of the Constitution of India to the Supreme Court for its advisory opinion on September 30,1982.
The most objectionable part of the bill as was described by the Governor was, “That the Act, as it now stands, suffers from many defects and deficienciesconstitutional and other. The former attract the responsibilities laid upon me by my oath of office which requires me to “Preserve, protect and defend the Constitution and the Law”.
The Governor in his reference to the President of India raised a strong objection saying that if such a law is passed, it shall have serious consequences on persons who may have deliberately and voluntarily migrated to Pakistan, settled there, taken Pakistani citizenship appropriated evacuee property, served in the Pakistani civil or armed services, fought against India or committed other treasonable acts against the country can, at any time of their choosing, return to India (and to the State) and settle here as a matter of legal right. Even the descendents of the migrants have been vested the right of return and claiming their immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court of India on November 6, 2001 returned the bill in three words, returned respectfully unanswered. The then Chief Minister of J and K declared that he shall implement the law by December, 2001.
It was Singh who filed a petition in the Supreme Court of India, challenging the Act when none of the political parties, including Congress and the BJP, could take any concrete step to defeat the draconian law. The Supreme Court of India stayed the Act providing relief to more than one million allottees in Jammu and Kashmir who were allotted evacuee land and houses, most of them are refugees from POK.
Singh has been fighting this case single handedly with the cooperation of battery of senior advocates, including K.K. Venugopal. (ANI)

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