The Supreme Court on Wednesday deferred hearing on a petition challenging The Jammu & Kashmir Grant of Permit for Resettlement in (or Permanent Return to) the State Act, 1982, which allows “descendants” of those who had moved to Pakistan between 1947 and 1954 to resettle in the state. The state has sought an adjournment till an elected government is in place.
The state’s plea was opposed by the petitioner Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party (JKNPP), which said the matter has been pending since long and should be heard immediately without further delay.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices L Nageswara Rao and S K Kaul, however, ordered, “We have considered the issues involved and the prayers made by the State of Jammu & Kashmir and the objections thereto raised by the learned counsel for the petitioners. On due consideration, we defer the hearing to a date to be fixed in the chambers by Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India.”
The court initially took exception to the state’s request and asked, “How can you say there is no government in the state? Does Constitution envisage such a situation?” The state’s counsel Shoeb Alam clarified that he never said there was no government and that he only said there was no elected government and the state was under President’s rule.
On the last date of hearing, the court had raised questions on the expression “descendants” in the Act and asked “how can it be extended to wives and other persons?” of those who had migrated. Singh had contended that if “descendants” of those who had migrated are allowed to return, “several lakhs of those born in Pakistan will be able to come to India and this will affect the security of the country”.