During the session of the five-judge Constitutional bench on Monday, the Supreme Court instructed the Central government to initiate an investigation into the reasons behind the suspension of Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, a senior lecturer in the School Education Department. Bhat had presented arguments in the highest court regarding the revocation of Article 370.
Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, during the hearing, raised concerns about Bhat’s suspension and commented, “It’s unjust that he was suspended right after his appearance in this court. Our democracy should not function this way.”
Bhat was suspended by the Jammu and Kashmir administration on August 25th.
Acting as a petitioner in the Article 370 case, Bhat put forth his arguments before the Constitutional Bench on August 23rd.
Reacting to the situation, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta mentioned that he came across the news of Bhat’s suspension in newspapers and assured that appropriate actions would be taken.
Chief Justice DY Chandrachud then urged Solicitor General Tushar Mehta to communicate with the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir to understand the exact reasons for the lecturer’s suspension.
“Engage with the Lieutenant Governor and find a resolution. If there are other issues, that’s a separate matter. But such immediate suspension after appearing in court raises concerns,” remarked CJI Chandrachud.
In response, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta emphasized that every individual has the right to appear in court, and the suspension of the lecturer cannot be a form of retaliation.
“There could be other reasons besides the court appearance,” SG Mehta pointed out.
“Examine it. The close timing between the appearance in court and the suspension raises questions. If the suspension letter mentions the case hearing, that could be problematic,” Justice SK Kaul advised the Solicitor General.