Challenge to the Abrogation of Article 370 | Judgement MatrixChallenge to the Abrogation of Article 370
Five senior most Judges of the Supreme Court upheld the Union’s abrogation of Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. All judges agreed that Article 370 was a temporary provision, designed to accommodate the immediate needs of the state. The larger purpose and goal was always the complete integration of the state with the rest of India.
The Bench also held that no limitations can be imposed on the President’s power under Article 356, to ensure that they can tackle the complete breakdown of constitutional machinery. Irrevocable changes can also be introduced, which the state legislature, on resuming its functioning can repeal if it chooses to.
They held that the process adopted to reorganise J&K into union territories is valid. However, the Court chose to leave the substantial questions of reorganisation open in light of the Union’s assurances that statehood would be restored soon after elections are conducted in the region. The Court imposed a deadline for this, asking the Election Commission of India to ensure elections are conducted by 30 September 2024.
Supreme Court Observer’s matrix breaks down the 476-page judgement.
Article 370 of the Constitution of India provided the State of Jammu and Kashmir with a special constitutional status. The provision substantially limited Parliament’s power to legislate for the State compared to other states.
On August 5, 2019, the Union government diluted Article 370, revoking Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. First, President Ram Nath Kovind issued presidential order CO 272. This Order allowed the Union to amend Article 370 without the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly.
Since J&K was under President’s Rule at the time, the powers of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly were vested in the Union Parliament. So, a few hours after CO 272 was issued, the Rajya Sabha recommended the abrogation of Article 370 through a Statutory Resolution under Article 370(3).
On August 6, 2019, President Kovind issued a Proclamation, CO 273, putting the Rajya Sabha’s recommendation into effect. All clauses of Article 370 ceased to operate, except Clause 1 which was amended to state that the Constitution of India applies wholly to the State, removing the special status awarded to Jammu and Kashmir.
On August 9, Parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019. This Act bifurcated the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories—J&K and Ladakh.
Petitions were filed challenging the constitutionality of the dilution of Article 370 and the bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories.
On August 28, 2019, a 3-Judge Bench led by former CJI Rajan Gogoi referred the case to a 5-Judge Constitution Bench.
On October 1, 2019, 5-Judge Constitution Bench of the Court comprising Justice N.V. Ramana, S.K. Kaul, R. Subhash Reddy, B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant decided to hear the case from November 14th, 2013. The petitioners sought the case to be placed before a larger Bench. On March 2nd, 2020, the Bench refused to refer it to a larger Bench.
On July 3, 2023, the Supreme Court listed the matter to a Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud. The Bench assembled on July 11, 2023 and decided to hear the challenge from August 2, 2023.