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J&K's path to recovery: Justice SK Kaul's noteworthy remarks during Article 370 verdict

Expressing the need for healing and reconciliation, Justice Kaul proposed the formation of an unbiased Truth and Reconciliation committee. This committee would be tasked with scrutinizing human rights violations by both state and non-state actors since the 1980s and suggesting measures for reconciliation.

Jammu and Kashmir's path to recovery: Justice SK Kaul's noteworthy remarks during Article 370 verdict AJR
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First Published Dec 11, 2023, 3:34 PM IST

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, in a significant move during the discussions on the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, urged for an impartial investigation into human rights abuses in the region, spanning back to the 1980s.

Expressing the need for healing and reconciliation, Justice Kaul proposed the formation of an unbiased Truth and Reconciliation committee. This committee would be tasked with scrutinizing human rights violations by both state and non-state actors since the 1980s and suggesting measures for reconciliation.

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Highlighting the original intent behind Article 370, Justice Kaul emphasized its purpose of gradually assimilating Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India. He underscored that the stipulation requiring the recommendation of the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly should not undermine its broader intention.

While recognizing the necessity for a phased integration, Justice Kaul voiced concerns about using "backdoor amendments" to circumvent established procedures. He reiterated the importance of adhering to specified amendment procedures, particularly as outlined in Article 367, rather than resorting to alternative methods.

Concurrently, the Supreme Court validated the government's decision to nullify Article 370, a constitutional provision that granted special status to the former state of Jammu and Kashmir. This landmark ruling arrived alongside Justice Kaul's appeal for a truth-seeking mechanism to address human rights issues within the region.

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Who is Sanjay Kishan Kaul?

Sanjay Kishan Kaul, born on December 26, 1958, is a distinguished Indian jurist and former legal practitioner who currently serves as a judge in the Supreme Court of India, a position he has held since 2017. He holds the esteemed position of the first puisne judge, ranking senior to all other judges after the Chief Justice of India. Additionally, he holds the vital role of executive chairman at the National Legal Services Authority.

With an extensive legal career, Kaul has previously held esteemed positions including chief justice at the Madras High Court and the Punjab and Haryana High Court. He has also served as a judge in the Delhi High Court and acted as its acting chief justice.

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Hailing from Srinagar, Kaul was born into a Kashmiri Pandit family, inheriting a legacy steeped in public service. His lineage includes Suraj Kishan Kaul, his great-great-grandfather, who served as the Revenue minister in the Regency council of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir. Furthermore, his great-grandfather, Sir Daya Kishan Kaul, was a revered statesman and diplomat, notably serving as the finance minister of the Jammu & Kashmir state.

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