Explore ongoing Supreme Court deliberations on challenges to Article 370’s abrogation. Learn about the legal arguments, historical context, and implications of the contested decision that revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
Background and Bench Composition
In an ongoing legal process, a Constitution Bench of India’s Supreme Court is addressing a collection of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to the former state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Bench, presided by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, and Surya Kant, is deliberating on the matter.
Petitions Against Article 370 Abrogation
The Supreme Court is deliberating on over 20 petitions that contest the Indian government’s decision in 2019 to revoke Article 370, leading to the withdrawal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. This alteration resulted in the division of the erstwhile state into two Union Territories.
The hearing, initiated on August 2, began with the question of whether the Constitution framers and the Article itself viewed it as a permanent or temporary provision. The court inquired if the dissolution of Jammu and Kashmir’s Constituent Assembly in 1957 indicated the permanency of Article 370. Additionally, discussions have centered on whether Article 370 could be part of the Indian Constitution’s basic structure.
Legal Arguments by Gopal Subramanium
Senior Advocate Gopal Subramanium argued that the Constituent Assemblies of both India and Jammu and Kashmir recognized each other’s Constitutions. He highlighted the mutual relationship between the two Constitutions, indicating that their coexistence is crucial. Subramanium emphasized that Article 370 was integral for communication between the two Constitutions and outlined historical circumstances to support his stance.
Implications and Bilateralism
Subramanium stressed that the revocation of the 1954 order and subsequent actions compromised bilateralism enshrined in Article 370. He argued that the relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and India was characterized by flexibility, and Article 370 was designed to facilitate the application of the Indian Constitution with special exceptions. He contended that the abrogation of this arrangement would require bilateral consensus and discussion with the state assembly.
The Constitution Bench heard Subramanium’s arguments and discussed various aspects of Article 370’s historical context, implications, and constitutional interpretation. Senior Advocate Zaffar Shah is set to continue arguments in the subsequent session. The hearing aims to address complex questions surrounding the constitutional validity and consequences of the abrogation of Article 370.