The Indian Supreme Court is set to exercise its prerogative of constitutional review. The landmark petition challenging the abrogation of Occupied Kashmir’s special status has been admitted, and a five-member bench will conduct day-to-day proceedings from August 2. This must have come as a great relief for men in India who believe in values of emancipation and campaign for the writ of law. Headed by Chief Justice Chandrachud, the honourable judges will be in the spotlight of history as they go on to interpret a politically-dmotivated decision by a hardline government of annulling Article 370 and 35A, which has literally snatched the Kashmiris of their identity bestowed in the constitution, and the pivotal of their existence in a pluralistic society. This is where the top-line judiciary of India will always be quoted and remembered, if they go on to uphold the supremacy of collective judgment of the constitution givers, in contrast to a knee-jerk outburst from a section of vested interests.
India’s unilateral decision on August 5, 2019 to quash the special status and throw open Kashmir for external meddling and demographic interventions is condemnable. This is why the apex court thought it appropriate to club together more than 20 petitions that questioed the constitutional validity of the Indian government’s decision to abrogate the identity-specific clauses in the constitution. The move has opened flood-gates of people from all over India to acquire property and resettle in the occupied state, impacting its populace imbalance and rights of the locals. The constitution had barred it, and overruling it through a berserk act of parliament is unqualified under all canons of law.
The judiciary trajectory of India will be at the back of mind of its constituents, as it will be a disappointment to see a repeat of Babri Masjid type of compromised verdict. India is a society of egalitarian minded people, notwithstanding political radicalism, and are eager to see constitution and secularism held in high esteem. The august bench should call a spade a spade and strike off the intervention.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 12th, 2023.
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