New Delhi: The Indian Supreme Court on Monday asked National Conference leader Mohammad Akbar Lone, one of the petitioners challenging the abrogation of Article 370, to file an affidavit on his allegiance to the Indian Constitution and that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.
A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud asked senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Lone to tell him to file an affidavit.
Lone had allegedly raised ‘Pakistan Zindabad’ slogan in Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.
“Furnish an affidavit from Lone that he swears allegiance to the Constitution of India and that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of Union of India like all Indians. We have everyone from Jammu and Kashmir here,” the bench told Sibal.
In the morning, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for Centre urged the top court that Lone should file an affidavit asserting that he owed allegiance to the Constitution of India and opposed terrorism and secessionist forces by Pakistan in Jammu and Kashmir.
During the post lunch hearing in the apex court, the bench also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai and Surya Kant asked Sibal if Lone unconditionally accepts that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and that he bears allegiance to the Constitution of India.
CJI Chandrachud said that when Lone has invoked the jurisdiction of the apex court under Article 32 of the Constitution, then he has to believe in sovereignty of the nation and that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.
Attorney General R Venkataramani also said, “He (Lone) wants his fundamental rights to be enforced and then takes a contrary viewpoint.”
Sibal told the bench that Lone is a Lok Sabha MP and as an MP he has taken oath owing allegiance to Constitution and accepted Jammu and Kashmir as integral part of India.
“Nobody on this side (petitioner’s side) has challenged the sovereignty of India. He is a member of the Lok Sabha. He is a citizen of India. Of course, he does believe in Jammu and Kashmir being a part of India. How can he say otherwise? And if anyone has said it, at my level, I deprecate it,” Sibal added.
Sibal also said that the incidents happened in the Assembly in 2018 and that BJP Speaker had asked Lone to chant certain slogans as well.
“We proceed on the basis that he is willing to file an affidavit before our court that he owes allegiance like any other citizen of India and that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India,” CJI said while asking Sibal to tell Lone to file affidavit by Tuesday.
In the morning, an advocate appearing for NGO ‘Roots in Kashmir’, a Kashmiri Pandit group, raised the issued before the bench saying he has filed an affidavit about a “startling fact” which came to his knowledge.
Solicitor General said Lone should file an affidavit stating he doesn’t support terrorism and secessionism and no citizen can have any objection in filing that.
NGO ‘Roots in Kashmir’ has filed an affidavit in the top court alleging Lone, who was a member of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly from 2002 to 2018, had shouted ‘Pakistan zindabad’ on the floor of the House and had refused to apologise for the act.
It alleged that Lone was known as “a supporter of secessionist forces operating in Jammu and Kashmir which support Pakistan.”
The NGO said Lone had often openly made pro-Pakistan statements and probably that explains his opposition to challenge any move that brings the people of Jammu and Kashmir on par with the rest of the country.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal is appearing for Lone in the case.
National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said on the Supreme Court order, “Whatever the directions of the Supreme Court are, they will be fulfilled in toto. The affidavit, as required by the honourable chief justice, will be filed in the court before end of proceedings tomorrow.”
The Constitution bench is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 of the constitution and bifurcating the state into two Union Territories.
On August 5, 2019, the Central government announced the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir granted under Article 370 and split the region into two Union territories. (ANI)