writ petition seeking dismissal of J&K Resettlement Act, 1981
New Delhi March 30: Prof.Bhim Singh, Sr. Advocate today made a mention before the Hon’ble Chief Justice of India this morning seeking early disposal of a writ petition which was filed by J&K National Panthers Party in 2001 against the Rehabilitation Act by the State of J&K, 1981 which had opened the back door for the J&K State Subjects to return back from Pakistan to the State of J&K. Nearly four lacs residents of the State of J&K had migrated voluntarily to the territory now called, ‘Pakistan’ during the partition of India (1947) and after.
The Legislative Assembly passed a legislation called Resettlement Act, 1981 under the leadership of Sheikh Mohd. Abdullah, the Chief Minister of J&K which opened the doors for the citizens of Pakistan numbering over four lacs to return to J&K (India) and resettle in J&K.
Prof.Bhim Singh as Congress MLAin 1981 opposed the legislation on the ground that the Constitution of India does not permit a foreigner, heir a citizen of Pakistan, to enter India without authority and settle in the State of J&K or elsewhere.
Several other writ petitions were also filed before the Supreme Court challenging the Rehabilitation Act of J&K following the writ petitions of the J&K National Panthers Party. The most prominent petitioners included the then President of Bharatiya Janata Party Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee. All these writ petitions were diluted as the matter was referred by the Govt. of Mrs. Indira Gandhi to the President of India, Giani Zail Singh. This matter remained in the dustbin in Rashtrapati Bhawan from 1984 till 2001 when the then President of India rejected the reference in three words, ‘Rejected’, ‘Unheard’ & ‘Unacceptable’.
J&K National Panthers Party filed a writ petition no.578/2001 challenging the constitutional validity of the Rehabilitation Act. Several senior advocates including Shri K. Venugopal led the arguments with Prof.Bhim Singh assisting the senior advocates. The writ petition was admitted and rule was issued by the Supreme Court. It was the Supreme Court which stayed the operation of the Rehabilitation Act in 2002.It was on 19.01.2002 that a Division Bench of the Supreme Court of India comprising JJ Mr. Justice G.B. Pattanaik & Mr. Justice R.P. Sethi stayed the proceedings of the Rehabilitation Act.
Prof.Bhim Singh mentioned before the Supreme Court Bench this morning submitting that it has been grave injustice to the petitioner itself (J&K National Panthers Party) which has been agitating before this Hon’ble Court for several years seeking justice from the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India in the interest of security of the State. He said that it was under this pretext (Rehabilitation Act) that Govts. of J&K had rehabilitated more than 7000 Bangladeshis and Burmese in Jammu City threatening the security of the state. He made the strong appeal before the Chief Justice Court to list this case at the earliest in the interest of justice and rule of law. The Supreme Court in the last order in 2016 had made an interesting order which is stated as follows:
“We have heard the learned counsels for the parties on the question as to whether these writ petitions ought to be referred to the Constitution Bench.
We have perused the order dated 23.10.2008 by which the Division Bench of this Court had actually referred these matters to the Constitution Bench.
However, on the orders of the Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India, on the administrative side, these matters have been posted before this Bench (3 Judges). This Court, therefore, will take up these matters for hearing, and if it becomes so necessary, will consider making a reference to the Constitution Bench under the provisions of Article 145(3) of the Constitution of India.
List these writ petitions for hearing after four weeks.”
The court heard this matter with patience and assured to take appropriate action.