JAMMU, Feb 10: State Government has sacked its advocate in Supreme Court Sunil Fernandes reportedly over the differences on filing review petition to dispute the Apex Court’s views on Jammu and Kashmir’s sovereignty and sovereign powers.
Official sources said that two days back the Law Department on the instructions of Minister for Law, Abdul Haq Khan asked the State Government’s counsel in Supreme Court Sunil Fernandes to resign immediately.
However, he was not conveyed the reasons behind such a sudden decision of the Government despite the fact that Sunil Fernandes remained the Chief Standing Counsel for the State since September 2015 during his second stint and is considered as one of the leading lawyers in the Apex Court of the country. In his first stint, Sunil Fernandes served as J&K Standing Counsel from May 2010 to September 2013.
According to the sources, the decision to sack Sunil Fernandes was taken in view of his differences with the Government over filing of review petition to dispute Supreme Court’s views in judgment dated December 16, 2016 whereby the top court had snubbed the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir for asserting the State’s sovereignty and sovereign powers.
It is pertinent to mention here that the Apex Court had held: “It is clear that the State of J&K has no vestige of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India and its own Constitution, which is subordinate to the Constitution of India. The residents of J&K are governed first by the Constitution of India and then by the Constitution of J&K”.
“Fernandes was reportedly asked to file the petition for reconsideration of the specific observations on the State’s sovereignty but the lawyer reportedly pointed out that no valid legal ground for filing a review petition was made”, sources said.
The Supreme Court’s judgment had created storm in the State Legislature during the just concluded Budget Session and Opposition had targeted the Government for alleged ‘step-by-step’ erosion of Article 370 which confers special status on the State.