J&K: Suspension of lecturer who argued against Article 370 abrogation in SC revoked

SC had raised questions regarding the ‘proximity’ of the action

J-k-lecturer-suspension-revoked (L) Lecturer Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, Supreme Court of Indian | PTI

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has withdrawn the suspension order against a lecturer Zahoor Ahmad Bhat, who was removed after he appeared in Supreme Court (SC) arguing against Article 370 abrogation.

The administration has directed him to "report to his original place of posting for further duties."

SC had raised questions over the 'proximity' of the action taken against Bhat, a lecturer of political science at Government Higher Secondary School, Jawahar Nagar in Srinagar. He was suspended from his duties on August 25.

“Consequent upon the withdrawal of order number 251-JK(Edu) dated 25-08-2023…, Sh.Zahoor Ahmed Bhat Sr. Lecturer, Pol. Science is hereby relieved from this office today on 03-09-2023 FN and is directed to report to his original place of posting for further duties,” read an order signed by personnel officer Vikas Dhar Bagati.

The action taken by the administration against Bhat was brought to the attention of the bench by senior advocate Kapil Sibal. SC directed the attorney-general to speak to the J&K L-G over the reasons behind the move.

"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No. 251-JK(Edu) of 2023 dated 25.08.2023 issued under endorsement No. Edu-Lect/96/2023(7272273) dated 25.08.2023 is withdrawn forthwith. By order of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir," read the order by Alok Kumar, principal secretary to the government, released on Saturday.

Bhat, who has a law degree, had appeared in one the petitions challenging Article 370 abrogation.

The L-G’s office also directed “an in-depth inquiry into the conduct of the delinquent officer”.

On August 28, a five-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud urged the administration to review the suspension.

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