Supreme Court to hear petitions challenging abrogation of Article 370 today

The Supreme Court on Tuesday (today) will begin hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of revocation of Article 370.

Article 370 guaranteed special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir which was abrogated by the Centre on August 5.

A five-judge bench comprising of Justices SK Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai and Surya Kant and headed by Justice NV Ramana will hear the case.

The apex court will hear petitions filed by private individuals, lawyers, activists and political parties – National Conference, Sajjad Lone-led J&K Peoples Conference and CPI (M) leader Mohd Yousuf Tarigami.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and senior advocate Raju Ramachandran were asked by Justice Ramana to come prepared for the issue, adding that there should be a common compilation to streamline the process of hearing.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had put a restriction on any fresh pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Article 370, saying that it would hear only two fresh pleas.

Responding to 34 petitions filed by people from various walks of life, an affidavit was filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs in which the Centre justified its decision to nullify the special status accorded to erstwhile J&K.

In the affidavit, it stated that article 370 was abrogated to integrate J&K with the rest of India, and claimed that it acted as a barrier to the socio-economic development of Jammu and Kashmir.

While arguing for the abrogation of Article 370 in the parliament before the Presidential order nullifying the special provision was passed in both houses, Home Minister Amit Shah had previously said that the BJP-led government had the “political will” to take decisions concerning the “temporary” provision in the constitution.

“Article 370 has been regarded as a temporary provision and it had to go. It should have gone long back. But nobody showed will power to do so due to vote bank politics. We are not worried about vote banks nor do we lack political will under Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said.

In August, the parliament passed both the Presidential order to revoke ‘discriminatory’ provisions of Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, which bifurcated the state into two UTs – J&K and Ladakh.