Article 370 A Temporary Provision : Supreme Court Upholds Abrogation of Special Status of J&K

India Defense

Article 370 A Temporary Provision : Supreme Court Upholds Abrogation of Special Status of J&K

Today, the Supreme Court endorsed the government decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution and directed the conduct of elections in the region next year.

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, delivering the majority judgment, clarified that Article 370 was initially a temporary provision designed to facilitate Jammu and Kashmir integration into India. The Supreme Court emphasized the need to normalize Jammu and Kashmir status and urged the prompt conduct of state elections by September 30, 2024, bringing it in line with other states.

Explaining the rationale behind the decision, the Supreme Court asserted that Jammu and Kashmir relinquished sovereignty upon joining India, and its constituent assembly ceased to exist post-merger. Chief Justice Chandrachud highlighted that the J&K constituent assembly was not meant to be a permanent body but was formed solely to frame the Constitution, and its recommendations were not binding on the President.

The court acknowledged that while the constituent assembly ceased to exist, the unique conditions justifying Article 370 introduction did not disappear. It clarified that the special status persisted due to the prevailing situation in the state.

Drawing parallels with other states, the Supreme Court cited examples of asymmetric federalism, mentioning Article 371A to 371J as instances of special arrangements for various states. It clarified that Jammu and Kashmir did not possess internal sovereignty distinct from other states.

The bench issued three separate judgments, with Chief Justice Chandrachud, Justice BR Gavai, and Justice Surya Kant co-authoring one, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul delivering a concurring judgment, and Justice Sanjiv Khanna concurring with the other two.

Article 370 granted Jammu and Kashmir its own Constitution and decision-making powers in all matters except defense, communications, and foreign affairs. The removal of Article 370 terminated the state special status. Additionally, Article 35A, encapsulated within Article 370, which conferred the power to define permanent residents and grant special rights, ceased to apply.

The Supreme Court declined to assess the validity of Jammu and Kashmir reorganization into a Union Territory, considering it a temporary arrangement until the completion of elections and the restoration of statehood.

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