Rehabilitation Act: SC refuseearly hearing of Bhim Singh’s writ petition

The Supreme Court, on Friday, refused early hearing of Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party founder, Prof. Bhim Singh’s writ petition that challenges the Jammu and Kashmir Rehabilitation Act of 1981.

The Resettlement Act was passed under the leadership of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, who was then the Chief Minister of the state. This legislation was supported by all parties and legislators, except Prof. Bhim Singh, who as an MLA of the Congress Party in 1981.

This Act provided all those persons, who had migrated to Pakistan in 1947 during and after partition, the right to return. It also allowed the descendants of the migrants to return.

Prof. Bhim Singh’s writ petition was opposed by senior advocate Ram Jethmalani and was assisted by the Union of India. Several senior advocates, including K.K. Venugopal, who is the present Attorney General of India, led the arguments assisted by Bhim Singh.

However, the Supreme Court stayed the operation of this order in 2001.

The government headed by Indira Gandhi in 1984 referred this legislation of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly to the President.

Nothing happened on this petition from 1984 to 2001, but on the request of Prof. Bhim Singh, this matter was heard by Supreme Court which returned the reference of the President of India in three words, ‘returned, unanswered, respectfully’, a statement issued by the Panthers party said.

The state government headed by Dr. Farooq Abdullah declared to implement this law immediately in 2001 after the Supreme Court returned the reference. At this point J&K National Panthers Party moved an urgent writ petition before the Supreme Court challenging it and was stayed by a division bench of the Supreme Court presided over by Justice Chennapa Reddy, the statement added.

In 2008, this petition was referred to the constitution bench by the division bench of Supreme Court. After hearing the matter on August 16, 2016, the three judge Bench said that the court would take up these matters for hearing, and if it becomes so necessary, will consider making a reference to the Constitution Bench.


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