Kashmiri lecturer suspended days after pleading against abrogation of Article 370 in SC

“When students ask if we are a democracy after 2019, it is difficult to answer,” senior lecturer Zahoor Ahmad Bhat told the Supreme Court

Updated - August 26, 2023 05:07 pm IST

Published - August 26, 2023 02:25 pm IST - SRINAGAR

A view of Supreme Court of India

A view of Supreme Court of India | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

A Kashmiri lecturer was suspended from the Union Territory’s education department by the Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor’s administration in Srinagar, four days after he pleaded for six minutes against the Centre’s move to end J&K’s special constitutional position before the Supreme Court.

The School Education Department has placed Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, a senior lecturer of political science under suspension with immediate effect for violation of provisions of Jammu & Kashmir Civil Service Regulations, Jammu & Kashmir Government Employees Conduct Rules and J&K Leave Rules.

“During the period of suspension, the delinquent shall remain attached in the office of Director School Education Jammu,” reads the order.

Mr. Bhat, who also possesses a law degree, appeared for himself before the SC on Wednesday. 

“I teach Indian politics in J&K. It is... very difficult for me to teach since 2019 about this beautiful Constitution. When students ask if we are a democracy after 2019, it is difficult to answer. Despite the assurance made by the then Governor Satya Pal Malik on August 4 that the Article 370 will not be abrogated, a curfew was imposed at midnight and former chief ministers were detained,” Mr. Bhat told the SC.

He said J&K’s special status was downgraded and split into two Union Territories “in violation of the morality of Indian constitution”. “It was against people’s right to democracy as the consent of people of J&K and Ladakh was not taken into consideration. The move was against cooperate federalism and supremacy of the Constitution,” Mr. Bhat said.

He also argued that the Legislative Council was in place when the then Governor made recommendations regarding Article 370 to the President. “J&K’s Legislative Assembly was dissolved but the Legislative Council was intact on August 4-5, 2019. The Governor had the option to take the Council’s concurrence. The 36-member Council was ignored and many detained from them,” he said.  

Meanwhile, the L-G government has directed Subah Mehta, Joint Director, School Education, Jammu, to “conduct an in-depth inquiry in the conduct of the delinquent officer”.

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