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The Economist: 'Disgrace', Supreme Court not hearing Govt of India 'abuses' in Kashmir

By Our Representative
Top British weekly "The Economist" has said that Supreme Court judges are ignoring the Government of India's "abuses" in Kashmir, stating, "If they put off the decisions long enough, they may not have to rule on anything awkward." The commentary comes amidst the Supreme Court urgently forming a vacation bench to hear on Monday morning a petition on cutting of scores of trees in Aarey forest of Mumbai.
Terming the situation "disgrace", the influential periodical said, the Supreme Court does not think it is "particularly urgent" to look into the plight seven million Kashmiri Muslims who have been "under virtual siege, painfully squeezed between some 500,000 itchy-fingered Indian troops and a few hundred armed militants."
The weekly recalls, "When it met in late August to consider a batch of petitions challenging the constitutionality of Modi’s moves, it gave the government a month to reply. When the judges took the matter up again on October 1, the government’s lawyers received not even a tap on the wrist for failing to prepare a response."
"Instead", it says, "the judges graciously yielded more time. The next scheduled hearing is now set for mid-November, which is to say, two weeks after the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act is due to come into force, on October 31." The Act would convert the state into two Union territories, directly governed by Delhi.
Continues the weekly, "With equal unconcern, another bench of the Supreme Court on the same day postponed -- for the seventh time in one case -- an even bigger batch of petitions regarding unfair imprisonment and suspension of communications. It has shunted petitions for habeas corpus --which in legal theory are urgent matters -- back to the high court in Jammu & Kashmir, in full knowledge that it has been swamped by more than 250 such protests against illegal detention."
"Rather than rule against Modi’s government, the top court has repeatedly waffled just long enough for matters to resolve themselves in its favour", the comment, says, adding, "In the midst of a general election last April, for example, the court declined to hear a case challenging the legality of electoral bonds, an instrument devised by Modi’s government that allows for unlimited, anonymous donations to political parties."
Then, "The Economist" says, "In the case of Aadhaar, a national biometric identification scheme, the Supreme Court waited five years to pronounce that it should be scaled back, by which time more than one billion people had been enrolled."
Also, "It took two years to rule that Mr Modi’s government had overstepped its powers by interfering in the local politics of Delhi, by which time the opposition party that runs the city had been bullied and harassed into near irrelevance."
"But the court is not always so sleepy", the comment says, adding, "In at least one case that raises obvious questions about infringements of rights, the top judges have been more aggressive than the government. It was the Supreme Court that ordered the state of Assam to update a 'register of citizens'."
It notes, "In a clear reversal of the presumption of innocence, the ruling forced all 33m residents of the state, many of them poor and illiterate, to furnish decades-worth of official documents proving their citizenship. The fate of some 1.9m who failed to show the right papers is unclear, but the state government is busy building internment camps."

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