Supreme Court’s Landmark Verdict upholding the constitutional validity of the Union government’s decision to rescind Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, marks a pivotal moment in India’s legal history.
In a groundbreaking ruling today, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the Union government’s decision to abrogate Article 370, which provided special status to the former state of Jammu and Kashmir. A five-judge Constitution bench, led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and comprising Justices S K Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, B R Gavai, and Surya Kant, delivered three distinct judgments in response to pleas challenging the abrogation.
Key Decisions of the Verdict
Constitutional Validity Affirmed: The apex court validated the Union government’s 2019 move to abrogate Article 370, emphasizing the need for the restoration of statehood and holding Legislative Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Article 370 – Temporary Provision: The court acknowledged Article 370 as a temporary provision, clarifying that it was a feature of asymmetric federalism rather than sovereignty.
- Exercise of Power by President Subject to Review: The judgment highlighted that the exercise of power by the President after issuing a proclamation under Article 356 is subject to judicial review.
- Amendment of Article 370: The court ruled that Article 370 cannot be amended by exercising power under Article 370(1)(d), emphasizing the necessity of following the prescribed procedures for modification.
- Application of Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir: The verdict validated the application of the entire Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir by the President through CO 273.
- Formation of Union Territories: While upholding the validity of the decision to carve out the Union Territory of Ladakh, the court directed steps for conducting elections in the region.
- Restoration of Statehood and Election Conduct: It directed the Election Commission of India to conduct Legislative Assembly elections for Jammu and Kashmir by September 30, 2024, urging the restoration of statehood at the earliest.
The Supreme Court’s decision came after a series of petitions challenging the Centre’s move in 2019 to revoke Article 370, splitting the state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The verdict, issued by a unanimous bench after a 16-day hearing, addressed arguments asserting that the Centre’s unilateral revocation of Article 370 disregarded the powers vested in the Jammu and Kashmir legislature.
This landmark judgment defines the contours of the constitutional framework concerning Article 370, reiterating the Centre’s prerogative in the process of reorganizing the region.
The Supreme Court’s resounding decision today clarifies the constitutional underpinnings and paves the way for the reintegration and political restructuring of the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.