J&K resettlement law: SC hints referring it to larger Bench [Security]
- The Supreme Court said it may refer to a Constitution Bench a plea challenging the validity of the Jammu and Kashmir Resettlement Act if it finds that some issues needed interpretation of the Constitution.
- The Act envisages grant of permit for resettlement of Pakistani nationals who had migrated to Pakistan from Jammu and Kashmir between 1947 and 1954 after India’s partition.
- People of Jammu and Kashmir who migrated to Pakistan from 1947 could be considered for their return but their descendants could not be.
- The law passed by the Assembly was draconian, unconstitutional and improper which threatened the security of the State.
- In 1982, the Act was first challenged by Mr. Singh before the apex court and then Governor B.K. Nehru had refused to sign Bill and sent it back to Assembly.
- Later Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the then President of newly constituted BJP, had also filed a petition before the apex court seeking intervention.
- The matter was considered by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 2001 on a presidential reference. The apex court returned the reference back to President with a three-word pronouncement: “Returned, respectfully, unanswered”.
- JKNPP, again through Mr. Singh, in 2001 filed a writ petition in the apex court seeking quashing of the Resettlement Act.
- The Supreme Court while admitting the plea had ordered for stay of operation of the Act and in 2008, the matter was referred to the Constitution Bench on the plea that the subject relates to the interpretation of the Constitution of India.