A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud during pronouncement of verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370, on December 11, 2023. (PTI)
Article 370 was meant to be a temporary provision and Jammu and Kashmir had surrended its sovereignity when it merged with India, CJI DY Chandrachud said while reading out the Supreme Court verdict
The Supreme Court doesn’t find the President’s exercise to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir to be malafide, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said on Monday, pronouncing the verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the August 2019 abrogation of J&K’s special status.
The CJI added that Article 370 was meant to be a temporary provision and that Jammu and Kashmir had surrended its sovereignity when it merged with India.
The petitions challenging the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 and the validity of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 that divided the erstwhile state into the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh were referred to the Constitution bench in 2019. The arguments in the matter had commenced on August 2. The apex court reserved its verdict in the matter on September 5 after a 16-day hearing.
According to CJI DY Chandrachud, the five issues discussed were:
- Whether Article 370 temporary
- Whether substitution of ‘Constituent Assembly’ by Legislative Assembly by using Article 370(1)(d) is valid
- Whether presidential order invalid for lack of recommendation of J&K Constituent Assembly
- Whether the Presidential Rule imposed in 2018 and subsequent extensions are valid
- Whether the J&K Reorganisation Act bifurcating the state into two UTs is constitutionally valid
Here’s a look at the operative parts of the judgement read out by CJI Chandrachud:
- On the President’s proclamation: “The court need not adjudicate on this since the petitioners did not challenge it. In any case, it was withdrawn in October 2019 and hence no relief can be granted.”
- The Supreme Court held that there are restrictions on powers to be exercised post imposition of Presidential’s Rule, but “every decision of the Centre taken for the State post imposition of Presidential’s Rule can’t lead to a legal challenge. The same can cause chaos.”
- “The State of Jammu and Kashmir didn’t attain independent sovereignty when it merged in India… J&K has no internal sovereignty which is distinguishable from other states. J&K surrendered its sovereignty while merging with India. The J&K constitution was only to further its relation with India.”
- “Article 370 is a temporary provision. J&K’s constitution was subordinate to the Constitution of India. Artical 370 was introduced to serve transitional purpose to serve as an interim process.”
- “Recommendation of Constituent Assembly was not binding on President. Constituent Assembly was a temporary body. This means president can abrogate Article 370.”
- “We don’t find that President’s exercise to abrogate Article 370 was malafide. We cannot sit in appeal over the decision of the President of India. The President seeking concurrence of the central government before the abrogation isn’t arbitrary.”