[Article 370] "When will it be restored?" SC asks Centre after it says J&K's Union Territory status not permanent

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It was day 12 of the hearing. A batch of petitions contesting the scrapping of Jammu and Kashmir's "special status" are being heard by a Constitution bench


The Supreme Court today asked the Centre, a timeframe  to restore statehood of Jammu and Kashmir. It has asked the Government to inform the court about the roadmap it it looking at to do so. The SG said that he will be able to make a positive statement on the issue on August 31, after meeting with the higher officials.

"Is there a roadmap? You have to show us that. You have to make a statement before us to show how can you convert a state into a UT and how long will this continue. Restoration of democracy is important," the CJI said to the Solicitor General of India and Attorney General for India, Tushar Mehta and R Venkatramani.

The bench was hearing Solicitor General Tushar Mehta who argued that the bifurcation was a measure which was to be reverted back in the original form, i.e. Jammu and Kashmir will be a state and Ladakh, will be back to being a Union Territory.

The SG also argued that the before 2019, there were constant hartals and attacks in the erstwhile state but after the scrapping of Article 370, there is peace and normalcy. Arguments also centred around the benefits that the residents of J&K have reaped due to scrapping of the provision.

"Any change in the Constitution that brings everyone at par can never be faulted," he said.

The SG also emphasised on the manner in which, after the formation of the Constitution, princely states lost their special privileges.

"The words Fraternity and Equality are the touchstone of our Constitution which cannot be done away with," he said, as he elaborated on the Raghunathrao Ganpatrao v. Union Of India (1993) case.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court bench said that Article 35A's insertion had virtually dispensed with the Fundamental Rights of citizens. 

The SG had pointed out that it was only after 2019, with better employment opportunities, booming tourism, investment in the state and better policing, that the people of J&K realised what exactly they have really lost. He said that a with the abrogation in 2019 by the centre, a historical blunder had been rectified.

Court is expected to take up the case on August 31.

Court is expected to take up the hearing tomorrow.

On August 5th, Article 370 of the Constitution was abrogated by the Central Government vide a Presidential Order which revoked the "special status" of Jammu & Kashmir. 

The President issued The Constitution (Application to Jammu And Kashmir) Order, 2019 CO 272 replacing the words ‘Constituent Assembly’ from Article 370(3) with ‘Legislative Assembly [of Jammu & Kashmir]’. A Statutory Resolution was introduced by Amit Shah in the Rajya Sabha which abrogated Article 370 as the state of under president's rule. Finally, on the next day, the Parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019  bifurcating the State into two Union Territories -Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. 

A saga of petitions were filed challenging this move by the Centre, after which it was first taken up on August 28, 2019 by a bench led by former CJI Ranjan Gogoi, who referred the case to a five-judge bench. A five judge bench led by former CJI NV Ramana referred it to a Constitution bench on October 1, 2019. 

The court is hearing the case vide a Constitution bench of CJI DY Chandrachud, Justices SK Kaul, Sanjib Khanna, BR Gavai and Surya Kant since July 11, 2023.

Get the latest news from the Supreme Court hearing on Article 370 abrogation | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8 | Day 9 | Day 10 | Day 11

Case Title: IN Re: ARTICLE 370 OF THE CONSTITUTION (This is not a suo motu case by the Supreme Court of India)