First time ‘no’ by SC for early hearing of WP 578/2001 against rehabilitation of 5 Lacs Pakistani citizens in J&K

The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India, Hon’ble Mr. Justice J.S. Khehar presiding over a Division Bench this morning refused early listing of a Writ Petition No. 578/2001 filed by J&K National Panthers Party. Prof.Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate who mentioned this matter before first Division Bench presided over by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India urging on the Chief Justice for early hearing of the said writ petition which was filed by the J&K National Panthers Party in 2001 challenging the Jammu and Kashmir so-called Rehabilitation Act which was passed in 1981 when Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah was the Chief Minister of J&K with the mission as was stated by the then Chief Minister, Sheikh Abdullah himself to ensure return of about 500,000 Pakistani citizens who had migrated to Pakistan during the partition of India in 1947. The Act passed by Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah and supported by all the parties and legislators except Prof.Bhim Singh who was an MLA of the Congress Party. This Act provided that all those persons who had migrated to Pakistan in 1947 during and after partition had right to return. This right to return and rehabilitate in J&K was applicable to the descendants of the migrants as well. According to the mathematical calculation at that time this Law if implemented would bring about five lacs Pakistani citizens to J&K in 1981. It would have brought more than 100,000 Pakistani trained soldiers to J&K under the excuse of J&K Rehabilitation Law.

            Prof.Bhim Singh filed the writ petition before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India which was opposed by Sr. Advocate Shri Ram Jethmalani and assisted by the Union of India. The Panthers Party was represented by Shri K.K. Venugopal (presently the Attorney-General of India), Prof.Bhim Singh and other senior advocates. The Supreme Court stayed the operation of this order in 2001. The Govt. headed by Mrs. Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister of India in 1984 referred this legislation of J&K Assembly to the President of India (Hon’ble Giani Jail Singh was the then President of India). This matter remained in the dustbin of the Supreme Court of India from 1984 to 2001. On the request of Prof.Bhim Singh representing J&K National Panthers Party, this matter was heard by the Supreme Court of India which returned the reference of the President of India in three words, ‘Returned, unanswered, respectfully’. The J&K Govt. headed by Dr. Farooq Abdullah declared to implement this Law immediately in 2001 after the Supreme Court returned the reference. At this stage J&K National Panthers Party moved an urgent writ petition mentioned above before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.      

            This Law was challenged by the Panthers Party and stayed by a Division Bench of the Supreme Court presided over by Justice Chennapa Reddy. In 2008, this petition was referred to the Constitution Bench by Division Bench of the Supreme Court. From 2008 to 2016 when no Bench was constituted for this case, Prof.Bhim Singh moved another CMP before the Supreme Court. The three judges Bench comprising of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ranjan Gogoi, Hon’ble Mr. Justice Prafulla C. Pant and Hon’ble Mr. Justice A.M. Khanwilkar. After hearing the matter on 16th August, 2016, the three judges Bench passed the following order:-

            “We have heard the learned counsels for the parties on the question as to whether these writ petitions ought to be referred to the Constitution bench.

            We have perused the order dated 23.10.2008 by which the Division Bench of this Court had actually referred these matters to the Constitution Bench. However, on the orders of the Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India, on the administrative side, these matters have been posted before this Bench (3 Judges). This Court, therefore, will take up thes ematters fro hearing, and if it becomes so necessary, will consider making a reference to the Constitution Bench under the provisions of Article 145 (3) of the Constitution of India.

            List these writ petitions for hearing after four weeks.”

            Prof.Bhim Singh mentioned this matter before the summer vacation urging the Hon’ble Chief Justice for listing the matter at the earliest so that the confusion created by this order and infiltration from across the LoC is checked with a strong hand.

            Prof.Bhim Singh expressed his unhappiness on the ‘no’ by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India for early hearing and announced that he shall file an intervention application before the Supreme Court to hear the matter at the earliest in the interest of security and safety of the international borders and LoC so that the unwanted and undesirable illegal infiltration shall be stopped forthwith.