SC verdict on Article 370 to be delivered on Dec 11 | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

SC verdict on Article 370 to be delivered on Dec 11

By, New Delhi
Dec 08, 2023 07:13 AM IST

According to people aware of the matter, CJI Chandrachud and Justice Kaul have authored two separate judgments for the bench.

A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will deliver on December 11 its ruling on a clutch of petitions that have challenged the August 2019 abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, and the subsequent restructuring of the state into two Union territories.

The Supreme Court building in New Delhi.(File)
The Supreme Court building in New Delhi.(File)

The five-judge bench comprises Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud and justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, Bhushan R Gavai and Surya Kant.

According to people aware of the matter, CJI Chandrachud and Justice Kaul have authored two separate judgments for the bench.

Following a marathon hearing spanning 16 days, the bench had on September 5 reserved its verdict in the matter.

The hearing began on August 2 after over three years, with its last listing dating back to March 2020 when another five-judge bench had declined to refer the matter to a larger bench. The reference was sought on the grounds that two previous judgments of the apex court were conflicting with each other, but the bench did not agree with this contention.

Read | Supreme Court trashes allegation against it, says it heard voice of the nation on Article 370

The final leg of the proceedings in the matter witnessed extensive arguments and discussions with the petitioners buttressing on the permanent nature of Article 370 and thus, the special status of J&K, while the Centre and other respondents emphasising that the provision was always meant to be temporary and that its abrogation was the ultimate step towards complete integration of J&K with the Union of India.

The Centre, on being asked by the court, made a statement on August 31 that the election to the legislative assembly for the Union territory of J&K could take place when the state and the central election commissions deems fit even as it declined to specify an “exact time frame” for restoring statehood to J&K.

While some petitioners brought up the requirement of consent from the constituent assembly for abrogation of Article 370, others questioned the validity of the President’s rule that was in effect when the abrogation was made. A few of these pleas went back to the Instrument of Accession, while some highlighted the Supreme Court’s ruling of 2018 that observed that Article 370 had gained a status of permanence.

Also Read | At HTLS 2023, PM Modi on what has changed in J-K: ‘After Article 370 abrogation…’

Many petitions also challenged the Jammu and Kashmir State Reorganization Act, by which the state was bifurcated into two Union territories with effect from October 30, 2019, arguing there was no power with the Centre to reorganise a state into two UTs.

Countering this, the Centre, through attorney general R Venkataramani and solicitor general Tushar Mehta, underlined that Article 370 was not an embodiment of any special status to J&K but was “only a stop gap arrangement” in the process of its “complete integration” with the Union of India.

Adding that the Instrument of Accession, signed in October 1947 by Maharaja Hari Singh of the erstwhile princely state to accede with the Dominion of India, was purely a political act “without any justiciable or legally enforceable commitments”, the Centre added that Article 370 “existed merely to temporarily manage the situation and ensure that a wider timeframe is provided to complete this process of further integration and uniformity qua Jammu and Kashmir.”

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