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May 19, 2024

Supreme Court Upholds Abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, Orders Elections by September 2024

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Dec 11, 2023

India’s Supreme Court on Monday upheld the government’s decision to abrogate Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The five-judge constitution bench unanimously ruled that the abrogation was legal and constitutional.

Background

Article 370 was a temporary provision in the Indian Constitution that gave special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir. This allowed the state to have its own constitution, flag and autonomy over all matters barring defense, communications and foreign affairs.

The article was abrogated in August 2019 by a presidential order that scraped Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. The state was also bifurcated into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

The government said Article 370 had hindered development in Jammu and Kashmir and integrating the state with the rest of India would ensure its progress. However, the move was challenged in the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Verdict

Delivering the verdict on Monday, Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said the abrogation was legal and in accordance with the basic structure of the Indian Constitution.

He stated that Article 370 was intended to be a temporary provision and the government was within its power to scrap the special status. The top judge added that sovereignty over Jammu and Kashmir lies with the union of India.

The other key aspects of the Supreme Court verdict include:

  • The constitution bench unanimously ruled that abrogation of Article 370 does not violate basic structure or essential features of the constitution
  • Jammu and Kashmir will remain a union territory until the government deems necessary
  • The court asked the union government to strengthen local governance in Jammu and Kashmir
  • Elections should be conducted in Jammu and Kashmir assembly by September 2024

Justice Chandrachud said the court hopes the verdict provides closure and contributes to the healing of the wounds. He also recommended setting up of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to inquire objectively into human rights violations.

Judge Decision
Chief Justice DY Chandrachud Ruled abrogation legal
Justices S Abdul Nazeer Concurred with CJI
Justices Sanjiv Khanna Concurred with CJI
Justices AS Oka Concurred with CJI
Justices Vikram Nath Concurred with CJI

Reactions to the Verdict

The verdict was welcomed by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the decision will further boost development in Jammu and Kashmir.

However, Jammu and Kashmir political leaders expressed disappointment. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said they will continue to fight for the rights peacefully using legal and constitutional means.

Politicians like Asaduddin Owaisi and leaders in Pakistan also criticized the verdict. Owaisi said the apex court endorsing all actions of the government sets a dangerous precedent.

What Next for Kashmir

With the Supreme Court endorsing the Centre’s move on Article 370, the focus will now shift to holding assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir.

The court has ordered the Election Commission to conduct polls by September 2024 after delimitation of constituencies. This will lead to the formation of an elected government in Jammu and Kashmir after over three years.

However, some experts say the restoration of statehood and greater political autonomy remains uncertain. The BJP government is likely to take a gradual approach towards empowering the local administration.

While the apex court verdict provides legal closure, resentment still simmers among sections of people in the Kashmir valley over the dilution of special status. The judiciary has ruled out going back on changes made in 2019, but the road to sustainable peace may still be long and complex.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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