SC Closes PIL Alleging Non-Functional Statutory Panels Exist In Jammu And Kashmir

New Delhi, Jul 9: The Supreme Court on Tuesday closed the proceedings on a PIL, which claimed non-functional statutory panels exist in Jammu and Kashmir, after being told by the union Territory administration that these are now functional and the powers of some like the State Human Rights Commission are being exercised by the NHRC.

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The top court had earlier issued notices to the Centre on the 2020 PIL, filed by Pune-based lawyer Asim Suhas Sarode, and sought the assistance of Solicitor General Tushar Mehta in deciding it.
It was alleged that statutory panels like the state human rights commission were not functional in the union territory after the abrogation of Article 370 which accorded special status to the erstwhile state.
The PIL alleged seven panels, including the Jammu and Kashmir State Commission for Women, the state commission for persons with disabilities and the consumer disputes redressal commission are non functional.
A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice JB Pardiwala on Tuesday took note of the submissions of the solicitor general that the statutory panels are functional and the powers of some of them are now being exercised by central panels owing to the change in the status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The law officer said the powers of three commissions out of the seven are being exercised by the central panels and the rest are functional in the union territory.
He also referred to the affidavit of the law, justice and parliamentary affairs department of Jammu and Kashmir in support of his submissions.
“We will close the case,” the bench then said.
“It has been submitted that with the passing of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, now the laws applicable to UTs are made applicable to the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir…moreover, the central government is vested with the power to direct that the central commissions to function as state commissions,” the bench said.
It disposed of the PIL, saying that in view of the present position, the plea has become infructuous and no further directions are required to be issued.
The petitioner had made the DoPT (Department of Personnel and Training), the National Human Rights Commission and the Law Commission of India parties to the PIL.
In August 2019, the Centre bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories and abrogated the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution which accorded special status to the erstwhile state.
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill was introduced in the Rajya Sabha on August 5, 2019 and passed the same day. The Lok Sabha cleared it the next day. (Agencies)

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