Art 370 confers special status on J&K: DB

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Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice Bansi Lal Bhat today categorically stated that Jammu and Kashmir is enjoying special status under Article 370 of the Constitution of India as such the laws enacted by the Parliament cannot be made applicable without the consent of State Legislature.
These observations were made in a petition filed by one Jagdev Singh seeking expunging of words “except the State of Jammu & Kashmir” from Clause (b) of Sub Section (2) of Section 1 of the Administrative Tribunals Act, 1985.
The petitioner submitted that these words are offending Article 14 of the Constitution of India to the persons residing in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and appointed to the public services and posts connected with the affairs of the State and for adjudication of their disputes.
After hearing petitioner in person whereas Advocate General Jahangir Iqbal Ganai with Advocate AH Bhat appearing for the State, DB held that State of Jammu and Kashmir is enjoying special status which is conferred under Article 370 of the Constitution of India.
“Bearing this in mind, the Parliament while enacting the Administrative Tribunal Act, 1985 has provided that the Act empowering to create the Administrative Tribunal for States is applicable, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir”, the DB said, adding “the special status conferred under Article 370 of the Constitution of India to the State of Jammu and Kashmir is not in dispute. In such circumstances, the wisdom of the Parliament in excluding the constitution of State Administrative Tribunal in the State of Jammu and Kashmir under the Administrative Tribunal’s Act, 1985 cannot be declared as illegal as contended by the petitioner”.
Division Bench further observed that the Central Government employees serving in the State of Jammu and Kashmir are entitled to approach the Central Administrative Tribunal in terms of Section 1(2)(a) of the Act as held by the Supreme Court.
“The contention of the petitioner that all other States have constituted the State Administrative Tribunals is also not correct as in some of the States the State Administrative Tribunals have not been constituted to resolve the disputes of the State Government employees. In some other States, particularly in the State of Tamil Nadu, even though the State Administrative Tribunal was created in the year 1988 but due to the defective functioning, the Tribunal was windup and all the cases which were earlier transferred from the High Court to the Tribunal or filed before the Tribunal were re-transferred or transferred to the High Court”, the DB said.
Stating that the contention raised by the petitioner that the employees of Jammu and Kashmir Government are discriminated has no basis, the DB further observed, “the Supreme Court has held that even if the State Administrative Tribunal is created, the orders passed by the Tribunal can be challenged before the High Court at the first instance i.e., before the Division Bench and thereafter only the parties can approach the Supreme Court”.
“Hence the reduction of pendency as pleaded by the petitioner cannot also be achieved”, the DB said while dismissing the PIL.

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