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Business News/ News / India/  SC verdict on Article 370 on Monday — Here's your guide to key questions and arguments
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SC verdict on Article 370 on Monday — Here's your guide to key questions and arguments

The Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on Monday on a batch of petitions that challenged the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir. Here's all you need to know about the case and what political leaders are saying.

The Supreme Court will pronounce a judgment on the petitions challenging the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370.Premium
The Supreme Court will pronounce a judgment on the petitions challenging the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370.

Was the Centre's move to abrogate the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution constitutionally valid? The Supreme Court is all set to pronounce its verdict on Monday, December 11, on a batch of petitions that challenged the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

The hearing comes days after Union minister Jitendra Singh told the Lok Sabha that the government is ready to hold assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir whenever the Election Commission (EC) takes a final decision in the matter.

Article 370 verdict LIVE updates

What is Abrogation of Article 370?

In a "path breaking decision" on August 5, 2019, the government decided to repeal the provisions under Article 370 of the Constitution of India, which granted a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Consequently, the Constitution of India got applicable to Jammu and Kashmir, "on par with other states/UTs of the country".

ALSO READ: Article 370 case Supreme Court hearing: ‘35A took away fundamental rights’, says CJI Chandrachud

Security arrangements in Srinagar | Guidelines for social media users issued

Ahead of the Supreme Court verdict, adequate security arrangements have been made to ensure a peaceful atmosphere in Kashmi. "We are duty-bound to ensure that peace prevails in the valley under all circumstances," a police officer was quoted by news agency PTI as saying on Sunday.

The authorities in Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir have also issued guidelines for social media users under Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) Section 144 to curb the spread of contents that are communally sensitive or promote terrorism and secessionism.

ALSO READ: From Nehru's two mistakes to calling Article 370 terrorism's root cause, here's what Amit Shah said in Lok Sabha

As per the guidelines, people have been asked to contribute to maintaining a safe online environment and promptly report any suspicious activity. The users have been advised to "recall messages promptly" in case they accidentally share inappropriate content, PTI reported.

"If you receive a message containing objectionable content, then report it immediately to the nearest police station or police post with a screenshot and detailed information," the guidelines read.

What has happened so far in the case?

The Supreme Court’s five-judge Constitution bench began hearing on the batch of pleas challenging the abrogation from of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir from August 2, 2023. After hearing the case for 16 days, the court reserved its verdict in the matter on September 5.

ALSO READ: Article 370 Case: SC asks Centre for timeframe to restore Jammu and Kashmir statehood

Senior advocates, including Kapil Sibal, Gopal Subramanium, Rajeev Dhavan, Zaffar Shah and Dushyant Dave, had argued on behalf of the petitioners- during the hearing. Meanwhile, Attorney General R Venkataramani, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, senior advocates Harish Salve, Rakesh Dwivedi, V Giri and others appeared on behalf of the Centre.

During the Article 370 hearing, concerns were raised regarding:

> Constitutional validity of the abrogation of Article 370

> If Article 370 was permanent

> Validity of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, which split the erstwhile state into two Union territories

> Challenges to the imposition of the governor's rule in Jammu and Kashmir on June 20, 2018

> Imposition of the president's rule on December 19, 2018 and its extension on July 3, 2019

What Supreme Court asked

During the hearing, the Supreme Court had asked who can recommend the revocation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir when no constituent assembly, the concurrence of which is required before taking such a step, exists there.

The Supreme Court had also asked how can a provision (Article 370), which was specifically mentioned as temporary in the Constitution, become permanent after the tenure of the Jammu and Kashmir constituent Assembly came to an end in 1957.

What did petitioners say

Some of the petitioners who opposed the repeal of Article 370 argued that the provision in the article could not have been abrogated as the term of the Jammu and Kashmir constituent Assembly ended in 1957 after it drafted the erstwhile state's Constitution.

With the constituent Assembly having become extinct, Article 370 acquired a permanent status, they had said. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal had opened the arguments, saying Article 370 was no longer a "temporary provision" and had assumed permanence post the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir.

Sibal highlighted the of clause 3 of Article 370 which shows that a recommendation from the Constituent Assembly was essential to removing Article 370. He had then argued that in the wake of the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, whose recommendation was required to abrogate Article 370, the provision could not be revoked.

He had contended that the Parliament could not have declared itself to be the legislature of Jammu and Kashmir in order to facilitate the abrogation of Article 370, as Article 354 of the Constitution does not authorise such an exercise of power.

Sibal had also sought to link the imposition of the President’s rule under Article 356 in Jammu and Kashmir in 2018. He had submitted that Constituent Assembly stands for enacting a constitution for the future, and it is essentially a political exercise to take into account the aspirations of the people.

What did the govt say?

The central government had defended its decision to abrogate Article 370, saying there was no "constitutional fraud" in repealing the provision that accorded special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Since 2019, when Article 370 was abrogated, the entire region has witnessed an "unprecedented era of peace, progress and prosperity," the Centre had said. After the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, life has returned to normalcy there after three decades of turmoil, the Centre, in its affidavit, told the Supreme Court.

The Centre had told the bench that Jammu and Kashmir was not the only state whose accession to India was through instruments of accession, but many other princely states that too had joined India post-independence in 1947, with conditionalities and after their merger, their sovereignty was subsumed in the sovereignty of India.

The government had also submitted that the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a Union Territory is only temporary and it will be restored to statehood; however, Ladakh would remain a Union Territory.

 

What now?

The Supreme Court is yet to pronounce a judgment on the petitions challenging the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into Union territories by the Centre on August 5, 2019.

The five judges who will deliver the verdict in the case included Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai and Surya Kant.

What political leaders from Kashmir hope?

Meanwhile, political parties in Kashmir have been cautious in voicing their expectations from the Supreme Court.

National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah said he can only hope and pray that the decision will be in favour of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

"Who will say with authority what is to happen? I do not have any such machinery or way by which I can come to know today what those five honourable judges have in their hearts or what they have written in the judgment...Let it (verdict) come, we will talk about it then," he said.

People's Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said it is the Supreme Court's court's responsibility to ensure that it does not push the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) agenda, but keeps the integrity of the country and its Constitution intact.

"I think the decision should be simple that whatever was done on August 5, 2019 was illegal, unconstitutional, against Jammu and Kashmir and the promises made to the people here," she said.

Meanwhile, Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) president Ghulam Nabi Azad said, " Tomorrow, when the verdict will come, we will get to know if it is in the interest of the Kashmiri people or against their interest. We have been waiting for more than 4 years...Supreme Court has heard the matter...we're waiting for justice. We have full faith in the Supreme Court..."

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 10 Dec 2023, 05:46 PM IST
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