Srinagar: New Delhi cannot intervene in the Supreme Court’s hearing of the case against Article 35A, as the matter is “sub judice”, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has been told in each of the meetings she has held in New Delhi with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and Bharatiya Janata Party general secretary Ram Madhav, government insiders told Kashmir Reader.
Mehbooba met Ram Madhav on Saturday. She met Narendra Modi on Friday and Rajnath Singh on Thursday.
New Delhi’s response is on expected lines, even if Mehbooba Mufti was hoping for otherwise. It was the Attorney General himself who told the Supreme Court that the Government of India wants a “larger debate” on Article 35A of the Constitution.
“The problem for the chief minister is that earlier the central government would file a counter-affidavit separately from the one filed by the state government. This time, it is totally different. Instead of supporting the state government in asking for dismissal of the petition, the central government has asked for a debate through its attorney general,” the government sources said.
Following Attorney General KK Venugopal’s request, the Supreme Court constituted a three-judge bench to hear the petition and set a six-week deadline for its final disposal.
“The state government is concerned about this change of tactics by the central government. It is unnerving them,” the sources said. “During her meetings with Prime Minister Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and BJP leader Ram Madhav, all of them told her that they can’t do much as the matter is sub judice.”
The sources said that the state government is now feeling isolated in Delhi.
“There are many instances in the past when the central government came to the rescue of the state government. Whenever in the past petitions were filed against Article 370, the central government on its own filed counter affidavits to have the cases disposed. It is totally different now,” they said.
The sources said that Mehbooba Mufti wanted the Government of India to become a party in its case against the petition in the Supreme Court.
“It did not happen. We are worried now. We think a legal course is being taken to abrogate 35A,” the sources said. “The chief minister is disappointed. She had expected otherwise.”
After Mehbooba’s meeting with Narendra Modi on Friday, a vaguely written press release stated that the Prime Minister had responded positively to the concerns and apprehensions raised by the Chief Minister. “The Prime Minister assured the Chief Minister that ‘Agenda of Alliance’ agreed upon between PDP and BJP should form the basis of any discussion on the State,” the press release said.
Constitutional lawyer Tasaduq Hussain had earlier told Kashmir Reader that it had become eminent that the BJP was taking the legal route to abrogate Article 35A.
“If it is removed, they will say they were not responsible for it, as it was done through the court ruling,” Hussain had said.