An Indian security personnel stands guard on a deserted road during restrictions in Srinagar. File photo/ Reuters
India’s top court is taking up legal challenges to the government’s decision to revoke Indian-controlled Kashmir’s special status and has asked the government to explain its stance to the court.
The Supreme Court held a preliminary hearing on the petitions on Wednesday and said five judges will start a regular hearing in October.
It ordered the federal government to file its replies to 14 petitions and inform the court about the media restrictions imposed in Kashmir.
Indian government imposed a security lockdown and communications blackout in Kashmir to avoid a violent reaction to the Aug.5 decision to downgrade the region’s autonomy.
The decision has touched off anger in Indian-controlled Kashmir and in neighbouring Pakistan. Kashmir is claimed by both nations and divided between them.
India will lift restrictions on people's movements and communication links in Kashmir in the next few days, the federal government told the Supreme Court on Friday.
The top court had on Saturday constituted a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana to hear the clutch of petitions related to Article 370, that gave a special status to J&K.
The decision comes at a time of high tension between the two nuclear-armed South Asian neighbours over the disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir.
Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) became history after August 6, when the Bill was passed by more than two-thirds majority in both houses of Parliament, through the laid down democratic process in consultation with Sadr-e-Riyasat vested in the Governor of the erstwhile state. The Bill reorganises the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two separate Union Territories (UTs), J&K being one (to get statehood when there is peace) and Ladakh being another UT.
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