In the ongoing Supreme Court hearing on challenges to the abrogation of Article 370, the 12th consecutive day of the hearing was conducted. The Centre will provide its statement on the status of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir on August 31. The apex court emphasized the restoration of democratic processes in Jammu and Kashmir.
India’s Supreme Court is currently hearing cases that challenge the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. This is the twelfth day of the hearing. On Monday, Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, mentioned that the revoked Article 35A has taken away all the special rights of Jammu and Kashmir residents.
On Tuesday, the Indian government informed the Supreme Court that the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a Union Territory is not a “permanent thing.” Regarding Ladakh, its status as a Union Territory will remain for a certain period.
Key Points of Article 370 Hearing in the Supreme Court:
- The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Tuesday that it will provide a detailed statement in court on August 31 regarding this complex political issue.
- Solicitor General Tushar Mehta informed the court after Chief Justice Dipak Misra, who chaired a Constitution Bench of five judges, suggested setting a specific time frame for the restoration of electoral democracy in the interim union territory.
- The senior government law officer stated that on August 31, a detailed statement about the future of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh’s status as Union Territories would be submitted before the Bench, which includes justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, B.R. Gavai, and Surya Kant.
- The Bench, which heard the arguments presented by Mehta, who was safeguarding the government’s decision to revoke the special status and reorganize the erstwhile state, noted that while democracy is crucial, considering the national security perspective, its revival might be done differently. It can be done by keeping the state in abeyance.
- However, the court noted that the deficiency in electoral democracy cannot be sustained indefinitely.
- The Bench suggested, “It must come to an end… Give us a specific time frame as to when you will restore real democracy. We want to record it.” Proceedings were adjourned for the day and returned to chambers.
Background: In 2019, Union Home Minister Amit Shah proposed the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A. Former President Ram Nath Kovind issued an order, the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019, stating that the provisions of the Indian Constitution would now apply to Jammu and Kashmir. This move was seen as equalizing the state with other Indian states.
PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti, along with other PDP leaders, was put under house arrest in 2019 due to the tense situation in the state. The region witnessed tension, and a situation similar to curfew, known as “talaabandi,” was imposed due to resistance from the residents against the decision.
During the hearing challenging the abrogation of Article 370, the matter of removing Article 35A was also discussed. Chief Justice Chandrachud stated on Monday that “35A has taken away three fundamental rights.