Supreme Court Reserves Judgment on Article 370 Revocation Case After Hearing Pleas

Supreme Court Reserves Judgment on Article 370 Revocation Case After Hearing Pleas

New Delhi - After concluding a series of hearings on Article 370, the Supreme Court of India has decided to reserve its judgment. The court was reviewing a collection of 23 petitions challenging the government's decision to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution, which conferred special status on the former state of Jammu and Kashmir. This pivotal article was revoked on August 5, 2019, and the region was restructured into Union Territories. The Supreme Court, having heard arguments from both sides over a span of 16 days, reserved its decision on September 5. The five-judge constitutional bench, comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, Justice BR Gavai, Justice Surya Kant, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, presided over the proceedings.

The proceedings today began with a discussion on the affidavit submitted by National Conference leader Mohammad Akbar Lone. During the concluding day of the hearing, the bench also heard rejoinder arguments presented by senior advocates Kapil Sibal, Gopal Subramanium, Rajeev Dhavan, Zaffar Shah, Dushyant Dave, and others.

Over the course of the past 16 days, the Supreme Court heard from various stakeholders, including Attorney General R Venkataramani, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, senior advocates Harish Salve, Rakesh Dwivedi, V Giri, and others, representing the government and those supporting the abrogation of Article 370. The discussions spanned several issues, such as the constitutional validity of the government's decision on August 5, 2019, to revoke the provision, the legality of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, which resulted in the division of the former state into two Union Territories, challenges to the imposition of Governor's rule in Jammu and Kashmir on June 20, 2018, as well as the imposition of President's rule in the former state on December 19, 2018, and its subsequent extension on July 3, 2019.

Multiple petitions challenging the revocation of Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act of 2019, which led to the creation of two union territories, Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, were referred to a Constitution bench in 2019. The Supreme Court began hearing these petitions on August 2, with a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud. The bench examined a total of 23 pleas, including those challenging the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories. The court decided to conduct hearings on a day-to-day basis, with the exception of Mondays and Fridays, typically reserved for miscellaneous matters.

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, a matter of contention between India and Pakistan since 1947. Until October 31, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir functioned as a state with Article 370 enabling it to have a distinct constitution, a state flag, and internal autonomy. Article 370, located in Part XXI of the Indian Constitution, titled "Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions," stipulated that the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir could determine the extent to which the Indian Constitution would apply to the state.

On August 5, 2019, the Indian government issued a Presidential Order that superseded the 1954 order, making all provisions of the Indian Constitution applicable to Jammu and Kashmir. This order was based on a resolution passed in both houses of India's parliament with a two-thirds majority. Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the abrogation of Article 370 in Rajya Sabha on August 5, 2019. Following this announcement, a Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order for 2019 was published in the Gazette of India. During his speech in Rajya Sabha, Amit Shah characterized this move as a historic moment, emphasizing that Article 370 had hindered the growth of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, preventing their integration with India and perpetuating poverty among its residents.

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