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Supreme Court Judgement on Article 370

By Amigos IAS

Why is it in the news? 

  • The Supreme Court, in a unanimous 5-0 ruling, upheld the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.

Key highlights of the Judgement

  • The Court emphasized that Article 370 was intended as a temporary provision during the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India. It was not meant to be a permanent feature of the Constitution.
  • The Court rejected the argument that Jammu and Kashmir retained internal sovereignty after its accession. It clarified that the state did not possess any special status beyond being an integral part of the Union of India.
  • The Supreme Court highlighted the integration of Jammu and Kashmir into India, referring to Section 3 of the J&K Constitution, which explicitly states that the state is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India. Additionally, it cited Article 1 and 370 of the Indian Constitution to reinforce this integration.
  • The Court dismissed the contention that the government’s actions during the abrogation of Article 370, which took place when Jammu and Kashmir was under President’s rule, were illegal. It based this decision on the 1994 Bommai judgment, asserting that the President’s actions are valid unless undertaken with bad faith or deemed clearly unreasonable.

 Other Directions

  • The Supreme Court directed the Union Government to expedite the restoration of statehood for Jammu and Kashmir, excluding Ladakh. Furthermore, it specified that Legislative Assembly elections should be conducted by September 2024.
  • In a significant move, the Court mandated the creation of a Truth-and-Reconciliation Commission. This commission is tasked with addressing human rights violations that occurred in Jammu and Kashmir since the 1980s. Importantly, it will investigate violations committed by both state and non-state actors, reflecting a commitment to addressing historical grievances and fostering reconciliation.

 

Article 370

·       Added to the Indian Constitution on October 17, 1949, as a ‘temporary provision.’

·       Grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, exempting it from certain provisions of the Indian Constitution.

·       Allows J&K to draft its own constitution, restricting legislative powers of the Indian Parliament in the state.

·       Grants J&K the ability to enact its own laws, except in areas of communications, defence, finance, and foreign affairs.

·       Jammu and Kashmir had its own constitution, flag, and penal code under Article 370.

 

Article 35A

·       Introduced through a Presidential Order in 1954, based on the recommendation of the J&K Constituent Assembly.

·       Grants the J&K legislature the authority to define permanent residents and their special rights and privileges.

·       Special Rights Cover: Public employment; Acquisition of immovable property; Settlement in different parts of the state; Access to scholarships and Voting rights.

 

Present Status (Post-2019 Changes)

·       Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019: Promulgated on August 5, 2019, revoking the special status accorded under Article 370 and Article 35A.

·       Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019: Bifurcated the state into two separate union territories – Jammu and Kashmir (with legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature).

 

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