Supreme Court Verdict On Pleas Challenging Abrogation Of Article 370 Today: 10 Points

In August and September this year, the Supreme Court heard the petitioners and the government over the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution pertinent to Jammu and Kashmir. Today, the SC will give its verdict on the batch of petitions that challenged the abrogation in the year 2019 of the provision that was exclusive to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019.
Supreme Court on Article 370

Today, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud will deliver the verdict on the petitions challenging the validity of the scrapping of Article 370, thereby ending the special status enjoyed by the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

New Delhi: The Supreme Court is scheduled to pronounce today its verdict on a batch of petitions (by the People's Democratic Party - PDP and the National Conference - NC) challenging the abrogation of Article 370. As a precautionary measure, just ahead of the key verdict, security arrangements have been put in place in Jammu and Kashmir. Most leaders have reposed their faith in the just ways of the Indian judiciary and given their opinions on what the ruling could mean for the people of the Valley. Here are 10 points that explain the situation around the much-awaited verdict:
  1. Constitutional Orders 272 and 273: On August 5, 2019, the Central government of India declared its intent to revoke Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. After the GoI decision, then-President Ram Nath Kovind issued Constitutional Order 272, which made certain changes to Article 367, affecting how Article 370 would be read. This allowed for changes to be made to Article 370. Immediately after that. the Upper House of the Parliament - ie. the Rajya Sabha recommended that the Article should cease to operate. The next day, the President issued Constitutional Order 273 to formalise this recommendation, confirming the abrogation of Article 370. On August 9, Parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, which bifurcated the state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
  2. Petitioners have challenged the legal manoeuvres of August 2019, thereby the validity of CO 272 and CO 273, and the President’s power to make the provision inoperable. The Indian government is defending the two Constitutional Orders since the hearing on the matter commenced on August 2. A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud will decide whether the decision taken by the Centre on August 5, 2019, to abrogate the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution which conferred special status on the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was constitutionally valid.
  3. Since the hearing began, 16 days of marathon sessions were held by the SC and it reserved its verdict on the matter on September 5. Petitioners have alleged Constitutional Fraud in the abrogation of Article 370.
  4. The advocates representing the petitioners in the Supreme Court are senior legal luminaries such as Kapil Sibal, Gopal Subramanium, Rajeev Dhavan, Zaffar Shah and Dushyant Dave. The petitioners alleged that the Centre was doing everything for its benefit and not adhering to the rules of the land.
  5. The advocates representing the Centre and its stand that there was no "constitutional fraud" in the annulment of the provisions of Article 370 are: Attorney General R Venkataramani, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, senior advocates Harish Salve, Rakesh Dwivedi, V Giri.
  6. The petitioners have argued that Article 370 cannot be scrapped unilaterally by the Centre, since the powers of the Constituent Assembly were vested in the J&K legislature after it was dissolved in 1957. With the constituent Assembly having become extinct, Article 370 acquired a permanent status, they argue. The SC has questioned how the Article becomes permanent merely on these grounds.
  7. The Centre has argued that its decisions were taken within the legal framework. It has also contended that the step was taken to mainstream Jammu and Kashmir - which it claims has happened and that the terrorism the state battled has gone down significantly. The Centre says that the move provided a level playing field to the state's people.
  8. The Centre has argued that due to the then-existing Article 370, the people of J&K were deprived of many fundamental rights that automatically apply to every Indian unless okayed by the state legislature. They included the basic right to education and several other Constitutional rights.
  9. The Centre argues that unlike the Constituent Assembly formed for drafting the Indian constitution, the J&K Constituent Assembly was not plenary — because by that time sovereignty had already been merged. In any sovereign nation, there cannot be two Constitutions and therefore, the words “Constituent Assembly” in Article 370(3) can be read only as ‘Legislative Assembly’.
  10. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud will deliver the verdict today (Monday, December 11). Other bench members are Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, B R Gavai and Surya Kant.
Ahead of the Supreme Court's verdict, the Kashmir Zone Inspector General of Police (IGP) VK Birdi told news agency PTI on Sunday that adequate security arrangements have been put in place to ensure a peaceful atmosphere. "We are duty-bound to ensure that peace prevails in the valley under all circumstances," he added. He also added that he has also been holding security review meetings in most of the 10 valley districts over the last two weeks. Guidelines for social media users under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) Section 144 to contain the spread of content that could spread communal hatred - have been brought into effect since December 7.
End of Article