Sibal refers to ‘odd-even’ in hearing on Kashmir

New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) Delhi’s odd-even scheme on Thursday found reference in the Supreme Court during the hearing on the matters connected with Kashmir.

Senior advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, during a hearing on restrictions in Kashmir after revocation of Article 370 mentioned the odd-even vehicle rationing scheme of the Delhi government being championed by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.

Sibal submitted before a Bench, headed by Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices R. Subhash Reddy and B.R. Gavai, that people in Kashmir had the right to exercise full fundamental rights but after the imposition of restrictions their rights had been abrogated. “Everything is odd and nothing is even,” Sibal said.

Then he connected his remark with the odd-even scheme of the Delhi government, saying everything about the vehicle rationing scheme was odd and nothing even.

“You say odd-even. Nothing is even. I bought a hybrid to escape from the odd-even scheme. But they have not exempted hybrids (referring to his hybrid car). Everything about the scheme is odd. Everyone doesn’t have two cars or motorcycles,” Sibal said.

The Bench corrected Sibal by citing the provisions of the scheme where motorcycles are exempted. “Bikes are exempted from this scheme,” said the Bench.

Sibal replied women are exempted. At this, one of the judges said, “No, women not exempted, if they are accompanied by men.” Sibal replied, “That’s the only best thing about the scheme that women are exempted.” In a lighter vein Sibal said, men were always supposed to create problem.

Sibal argued that Section 144 had been “misused in Kashmir and appears as a coloured exercise of power, which is unconstitutional.”

The Bench queried would it not be plausible that the government imposed it anticipating riots after abrogating the Article 370. Sibal submitted, it had already been more than two months since restrictions were imposed, “how do you justify it.”

Sibal said, “Issue like this has never come up before this court; no exercise in this fashion has ever taken place in this country. Will my entry into J&K lead to riots? I was there for four days but nothing happened”.

Such exercises would destroy constitutional democracy, he added.

Azad had moved the apex court after he was not allowed to visit J&K after Article 370 was revoked. In his plea, Azad had sought nod from the top court to visit his family and relatives, and also permission to check on social conditions of the daily wagers in the region after restrictions were imposed.

The apex court allowed him to visit four J&K districts and asked him to refrain from political activity during the visit.

The arguments will continue on November 14.

–IANS

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