Jammu and Kashmir govt sacks counsel for failing to file petition against Supreme Court’s ‘sovereignty’ verdict

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Published: February 9, 2017 12:24:18 PM

The Jammu and Kashmir state government has recently sacked its standing counsel in the top court for refusing to file a review petition to dispute a Supreme Court's recently passed verdict.

Jammu and Kashmir state government, Supreme Court, Sunil Fernandes, Supreme Court lawyer, chief standing counsel, Abdul Majid Bhat, Abdul Haq Khan, Constitution of IndiaThe Jammu and Kashmir state government has recently sacked its standing counsel in the top court for refusing to file a review petition to dispute a Supreme Court?s recently passed verdict. (Source: IE)

The Jammu and Kashmir state government has recently sacked its standing counsel in the top court for refusing to file a review petition to dispute a Supreme Court’s recently passed verdict. Some time back the Supreme Court has said that Jammu and Kashmir has no vestige of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India. Sunil Fernandes, who is a Supreme Court lawyer and the chief standing counsel for the state since September 2015, was on Monday asked to resign ‘immediately’. The lawyer was not given any prior notice for the same or any specific reason on why he was asked to resign. This was Fernandes’s second stint as J&K standing counsel. Earlier he served from May 2010 to September 2013.

Speaking about the same with The Indian Express, Fernandes said, “I was asked to resign. Hence, I put in my papers. Beyond that, it is not appropriate for me to say anything. Kindly direct your queries to the state government for the reasons behind this decision.”

However, Abdul Majid Bhat, who is the state government’s Law Secretary initially said that Fernandes resigned on his own, but when told that the lawyer had said that he had been asked to quit, Bhat declined to comment.

Interestingly, Abdul Haq Khan, the J&K Law Minister, had a meeting on Sunday in New Delhi with all the lawyers of the state, including Fernandes, but he remained unavailable despite many calls and text messages. As per sources, authorities in the J&K law department have been pressuring Fernandes to file a review petition against the SC judgment of December 16, in which the top court had snubbed the J&K High Court for asserting the state’s sovereignty and sovereign powers.

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The Apex court, in its judgment has said that, “It is clear that the state of Jammu & Kashmir has no vestige of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India and its own Constitution, which is subordinate to the Constitution of India. they (residents of state) are governed first by the Constitution of India and also by the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir.”

Following the same, Fernandes was asked to file the petition asking the top court to reconsider the specific observations on the state’s ‘sovereignty’, however the lawyer reportedly informed the state authorities that there is no valid legal grounds for filing a review petition. Sources also said that Fernandes even stated that he would file a review against the judgment only if there are special instructions in writing to do so.

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