Suspension of Kashmiri Lecturer Who Appeared in SC Favouring Art 370 Revoked


The apex court bench led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud last week said the proximity between the action against Zahoor Ahmad Bhat and his appearance before the top court made the development “suspect”.

Team Clarion

NEW DELHI — The Jammu and Kashmir administration has withdrawn a suspension order against a lecturer after he made a Supreme Court appearance in favour of Article 370, and directed him to “report to his original place of posting for further duties”.

The top court recently raised questions over the action taken against Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, a lecturer of political science at Government Higher Secondary School Jawahar Nagar in Srinagar, and asked Attorney General R. Venkataramani and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to speak to the Lieutenant Governor and find out the reasons behind the move.

In its order on Saturday, Alok Kumar, principal secretary to the government, said: “Having regard to the attending circumstances and after careful deliberation, the Governor Order No. 251-JK(Edu) of 2023 dated 25.08.2023 issued under endorsement No. Edu-Lect/96/2023(7272273) dated 25.08.2023 is withdrawn forthwith,” media reports reaching here said on Monday.

Bhat refused to comment on the revocation of his suspension. Earlier, he said he had no issues with the government and did not know the reason behind his suspension.

On August 23, Bhat, who has a law degree, appeared as one of the petitioners in the ongoing hearing on the validity of nullification of Article 370 that granted J&K a semi-autonomous status.

Two days later, he was suspended by the J&K school education department for violation of provisions of J&K Civil Service Regulations, J&K Government Employees Conduct Rules, and J&K Leave Rules.

On August 28, a five-judge bench led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud urged the administration to review the suspension, saying the proximity between the action against Bhat and his appearance before the top court made the development “suspect”.

The observation came after senior advocate Kapil Sibal raised the issue before the bench, which also comprised Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, Bhushan R. Gavai, and Surya Kant, saying it is “extremely unfair” to act against a person merely for appearing before the Supreme Court and presenting his point of view.

“Learned A-G, please, speak to the L-G and see why this has happened. If there is something else, it is a different matter but somebody who appears before this court and then this happens…Why has this happened in close succession to his appearing here,” the bench had asked.


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