[Pro-Pak MP controversy] Mohd Akbar Lone files affidavit before Supreme Court

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A CJI DY Chandrachud led Constitution bench had directed Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal to ask Lone to file a one-page affidavit by today before the hearing in pleas challenging abrogation of Article 370 closed

Pro-Pak Sloganeer and National Conference leader Mohammed Akbar Lone has filed an affidavit before the Supreme Court as ordered by it yesterday, however the affidavit does not specifically state that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India.

Instead, he states in his affidavit that he will stick to the oath he took as a member of Parliament and to that effect, he will uphold the Constitution and territorial integrity of India. 

As the hearing before the Supreme Court in pleas challenging abrogation of Article 370, spanning over 16 days was coming to an end today, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the bench that the affidavit filed by Lone had come on record.

Reading from the affidavit, "..I stick to the oath taken by me while being sworn in as Member of Parliament...", SG Mehta said that Lone's statement before Court was adding insult to injury.

"Your lordships should read what is not written in this affidavit..", the SG added.

"We will analyze it.", said the CJI while reserving judgment in the batch of pleas. 

Earlier today, the Centre backed another affidavit filed by Kashmiri Pandit organisation Roots in Kashmir, questioning credentials of lead petitioner, Mohd Akbar Lone in which instances of him "pushing separatist agenda" have been highlighted. Supreme Court is hearing the challenge to scrapping of Article 370.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed Supreme Court that Lone has not only raised pro-Pak slogans in the J&K legislative assembly, while he served as an MP in the erstwhile state, but has also expressed great remorse when terrorists have been killed by Army. 

When the senior law officer began reading instances highlighting his affiliations, his lawyer, senior Advocate Kapil Sibal objected the contents of affidavit being read out. "This is being televised," he pleaded before the court.

Upon hearing this, the Court said that the same need not be read out.

The affidavit states that in March 2019, Lone said “Hindustan ki khilaaf Nafrat aur bhi zadha hogi ab aanai wale dinu mai" (in coming days people will hate more India, adding that people have full right to protest and pelt stones in Kashmir).

On May 7, 2018, Lone said, "Militants are also like our brothers. Killing of millitant or a civilian must be condemned". He justified local youth indulging in terrorist activities by stating that they were doing so because of Indian atrocities.

Affidavit also points out that Lone accepted shouting "Pakistan Zindabad" slogans in February 2018 after some BJP MLA's raised anti-Pak slogans. He had said that he was muslim first and this hurt his sentiments.

In another interview, according to the affidavit, he had pointed out that Kashmiris don't belong to India and that China and Pakistan had exposed India.

In this backdrop, the SG said that Lone must file an affidavit also stating that he does not support terrorist activities, has no separatist agenda, apart from swearing allegiance to the Constitution. 

The top court yesterday asked Lone to file a one-page affidavit by tomorrow before the hearing in pleas challenging abrogation of Article 370 closes. As of now, no affidavit has come on record.

In the morning yesterday, CJI led bench remarked that it had taken note of several newspaper reports on Akbar Lone's statements, on account of a Kashmiri Pandit organisation, Roots in Kashmir, filing an affidavit, objecting to his credentials for coming before Supreme Court against a constitutional challenge such as this. CJI said that he will hear the Centre on this point.

The court was hearing the case vide a Constitution bench of CJI DY Chandrachud, Justices SK Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai and Surya Kant since July 11, 2023.

Case Title: In Re Article 370 of the Constitution