Centre to make a positive statement on J&K statehood

The Supreme Court has asked the Union government to indicate a timeframe to restore the statehood of J&K.

Utkarsh Anand
Updated29 Aug 2023
Supreme Court of India. (PTI)
Supreme Court of India. (PTI)

Underlining that restoration of democracy in Jammu and Kashmir is “very important”, the Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Union government to indicate a timeframe to restore the statehood of J&K, prompting the Centre to seek 48 hours for making what it called a “positive statement” in this regard.

“The government has to make that statement before us that its (J&K’s) progression back to state has to take place. It cannot be a Union territory in permanence...Restoration of democracy is very important. It’s a surviving component for our nation,” a Constitution bench led by Chief Justice of India Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, observed.

As the court heard the matter of the abrogation of Article 370 and the restructuring of J&K into two Union territories, the central government made a statement that J&K will be made a state again but requested for time till 31 August to present a roadmap regarding the restoration of statehood and other pertinent aspects of the issue. Ladakh will, however, continue to remain a UT, solicitor general Tushar Mehta submitted before the bench, which also comprised justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, Bhushan R Gavai and Surya Kant, as he sought some time to have a deliberation at the highest level and come back with a tentative timeframe on the restoration of statehood for J&K.

“J&K becoming a UT is not a permanent feature. I will make a positive statement on August 31...I can make a statement that it is a temporary measure. Two units were created; one (J&K) with a legislature but power of police has to remain with the Centre because of peculiar security position there,” he said in response to a query by the court. The court’s query came as Mehta defended the August 2019 abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent reorganisation of J&K into two UTs, arguing there is no constitutional embargo against Parliament reorganising a state into two UTs and that the decision regarding J&K was imperative in view of a history of violence, terrorism and its geographical location along the borders of the country.

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