Article 370 verdict LIVE updates: SC has upheld the government’s decision to abrogate Article 370, which bestowed special status on the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and said steps should be taken to conduct elections in the assembly by September 30 2024

In the chairmanship of Chief Justice D.V. Choudhary, the five-member Constitutional Bench of the Supreme Court declared unanimously on December 11 that Justice Chandrachud upheld the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A on December 11, considering that Article 370 was a temporary provision and there was no internal autonomy for the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.

According to the Supreme Court, after the proclamation and adoption of the Indian Constitution on November 25, 1949, the state of Jammu and Kashmir did not retain any elements of autonomy. The Supreme Court stated that Article 370 was a special provision for temporary federalism, not autonomy.

The Supreme Court also declared that the consent of the state government is not required to apply the Indian Constitution in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is worth mentioning that after the revocation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019, the state was under the President’s rule, and since then, there has been a debate on whether irreversible decisions can be made in the absence of an elected legislative assembly.

During the President’s rule, the decisions taken by the central government on behalf of the state were not subject to challenge, said Chief Justice (CJI) Chandrachud while reading out the judgment. The Bench, comprising Justices S.K. Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, B.R. Gavai, and Suryakant, directed the center to restore the statehood and conduct elections before September 2024, apart from three separate but concurring judgments by CJI for himself and Justice Sanjiv Khanna, and one each by Justices Gavai and Suryakant.

In his judgment, CJI highlighted that the Indian Constitution is a comprehensive document for constitutional governance. He proclaimed, “Using the power under Article 370(3), the President can issue a unilateral notification that brings an end to the existence of Article 370.”

“While applying all the provisions of the Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir, the state government or the central government did not need the consent of the state government under Article 370(1)(d) of the Constitution. Because the effect of such an exercise of power is similar to the exercise of power under Article 370(3), for which the consent or concurrence of the state government was not necessary,” Justice Chandrachud said.

He further stated that petitioners did not challenge the issuance of the proclamation under Section 92 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution and Article 356 of the Indian Constitution until the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was abolished. He mentioned, “Challenging the proclamation is not appropriate for judicial review because the main challenge is about actions taken after the proclamation was issued.”

Justice Kaul, in his judgment, stated that the purpose of Article 370 was to gradually bring Jammu and Kashmir on par with other Indian states. He directed the establishment of a “neutral truth and reconciliation commission” by both state and non-state actors since 1980 to investigate human rights violations.

Justice Khanna, in a separate judgment, concurred with the other two judgments. As soon as the verdict was pronounced, National Conference leader and former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, stated in a live video on Ex (formerly Twitter) that this was not the decision they had hoped for, and the political struggle would continue.

He mentioned that the observations of the three judges of the Supreme Court’s bench in the Jammu and Kashmir state matter contradicted the comments of the three judges in the case of Paramjit Prakash Singh vs State of Punjab and others.

Meanwhile, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief, Mehbooba Mufti, posted on Ex saying, “The people of Jammu and Kashmir are not going to lose hope or accept defeat. Our fight for dignity and respect will continue without caring for any consequences. This is not the end of the road for us.”

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which initiated a decade-long campaign to end the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, praised the decision, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it a “historic announcement of hope, progress, and unity for our sisters and brothers in Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh.

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