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SC defers hearing on sensitive J&K Resettlement Act

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Srinagar: The Supreme Court on Wednesday deferred hearing on a plea challenging the validity of the J&K Resettlement Act of 1982 amidst Jammu and Kashmir government’s prayer that matter should be heard after an elected Government is in place in the State.
A 3-judge bench of the apex court deferred the hearing to a date to be fixed in the chambers by
the Chief Justice of India Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
The J&K government said that since the challenge is to the state legislature enactment, it would be appropriate if the hearing was done when the elected government is in place.
The reason was cited in a letter circulated among the parties in the case by the state administration.
In its affidavit filed through advocate Shoeb Alam, it replied to the query of the court, asked during the last hearing, as to how many people who had migrated from the state have applied for returning from Pakistan under the provisions of the Act.
On December 13 last year, the Supreme Court, while hearing the plea challenging the validity of the sensitive Act, had sought to know as to how many people who migrated from the state have applied for returning from Pakistan. The court had asked the state government’s counsel to take instruction on the issue.
The Jammu and Kashmir Resettlement Act of 1982, which was stayed by the apex court in 2001, 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.
The petitioner, Jammu and Kashmir National Panther Party (JKNPP), is arguing the matter through its Chief and senior advocate Bhim Singh.
Singh has contended that the matter has been pending for long and needs to be decided.
The matter was considered by the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 2001 on a presidential reference. The apex court returned the reference to President with a three-word pronouncement: ‘Returned, respectfully, unanswered’.
Singh in 2001 had filed a writ petition in the apex court seeking quashing of the Resettlement Act.

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