India’s top court seeks timeframe to restore Jammu and Kashmir’s status as state

IOK - Indian Occupied Kashmir Jammu & Kashmir

ANKARA: India’s Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the federal government to indicate if there is a time frame to restore the status of Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) as a full-fledged state.

The remarks by the top court came as it heard petitions challenging legislation that stripped IIOJK of its statehood and special status on Aug. 5, 2019.

“…we are conscious of the fact that these are matters of national security…the preservation of nation itself is the overriding concern. But without putting you in a bind, you (solicitor general) and AG (attorney general) may seek instructions on the highest level – is there some time frame in view?” Chief Justice DY Chandrachud asked on Tuesday.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta referred to the 2019 Indian government statement in parliament stating the “Union territory (of Jammu and Kashmir) is not the permanent feature.”

Mehta also told the bench on Tuesday after the lunch break: “The instructions are that UT (union territory) is not a permanent feature. But, I will make a positive statement the day after tomorrow….”

India repealed the special status of the disputed territory of IIOJK, stripping it of its flag and legislature.

Article 35A was also scrapped, which had allowed the region to define its residents and barred outsiders from buying properties or taking up government jobs.

The Himalayan state was divided into two centrally ruled union territories, now called Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

The Muslim-majority region of Kashmir is claimed by both Pakistan and India.

Islamabad says New Delhi’s 2019 move is illegal and has since downgraded diplomatic ties and halted