Centre’s Move To Scrap Special Status To J&K Valid: Supreme Court


Centre’s Move To Scrap Special Status To J&K Valid: Supreme Court

Supreme Court upheld the constitutional validity of move to scrap J&K special status

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court today upheld the Centre’s move to scrap special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution. A five-member bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud ruled that Article 370 was a temporary provision to ease Jammu and Kashmir’s merger with India.

The Supreme Court also ordered the Election Commission to hold election in Jammu and Kashmir by September 2024.

Jammu and Kashmir did not retain sovereignty when it joined India and its constituent assembly ceased to exist the moment it merged with India, the Supreme Court said, referring to why special status was not needed.

“The J&K constituent assembly was not intended to be a permanent body. It was formed only to frame the Constitution. The recommendation of the Constituent Assembly was not binding on the President,” the Supreme Court said.

The Supreme Court, however, explained why the state continued to enjoy special status even after its merger with India, despite the state not having “internal sovereignty”.

“When the constituent assembly ceased to exist, the special condition for which Article 370 was introduced also ceased to exist. But the situation in the state remained, and thus the Article continued,” the Supreme Court said.

The bench gave three separate judgments – one authored by Chief Justice Chandrachud on behalf of himself, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant; another concurring judgment by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and a third judgment concurring with the other two by Justice Sanjiv Khanna.

Article 370 gave Jammu and Kashmir its own Constitution and decision-making rights for all matters barring defence, communications and foreign affairs. Its removal ended special status to the state.

Contained within Article 370 was Article 35A, which allowed the erstwhile state to define who it acknowledged as permanent residents and gave special rights, such as government jobs and owning property.