Madras HC dismisses plea challenging Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 for non-maintainability

Madras HC dismisses plea challenging Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 for non-maintainability

Meera Emmanuel

On the same day that the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 took effect, the Madras High Court dismissed a petition filed before it challenging the constitutionality of the Act.

The plea filed by political party Desiya Makkal Sakthi Katchi, through its President ML Ravi had contended that the 2019 Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act is liable to be declared unconstitutional and void as the Parliament does not have the legislative competence to reorganise Jammu ad Kashmir without a Constitutional amendment and without the concurrence of the State legislature.

The Bench of Justices M Sathyanarayanan and N Seshasayee had reserved orders on the maintainability of this petition on October 22. On Thursday, the Bench dismissed the plea, while upholding the Court Registry’s objection that the petition was not maintainable before the Madras High Court for want of territorial jurisdiction.

Additionally, the Bench also observed that the petitioner, not being a resident of Jammu and Kashmir, could not claim to be an aggrieved party. Further the High Court also made note that similar challenges are already pending before the Supreme Court of India. Therefore, the High Court dismissed the petition, holding,

The petitioner, admittedly, is not a resident of the said State and if at all, any person is aggrieved by the abrogation and enactment, could be the person who is a permanent resident of the then State of Jammu and Kashmir.

It is also brought to the knowledge of this Court that similar challenge has been made before the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India and the same is pending consideration before Constitution Bench which, also started hearing the matters.

In the light of the reasons assigned above, this Court is inclined to uphold the objections raised by the Registry as to the territorial jurisdiction of this Court to entertain this writ petition.

In the result, WP.SR/No.104865 of 2019 is rejected for want of territorial jurisdiction. No costs.

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 bifurcates the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. The Presidential Order of August 5, which eventually led to the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution (which had until then granted special autonomy to J&K in certain respects), had also paved way for the introduction of the 2019 Reorganisation Act.

The Act came into force today, thereby bifurcating the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories – Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.

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