The Supreme Court of India continues its twelfth day of hearing on the cases challenging the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud had previously highlighted that the now revoked Article 35A had stripped away privileges from the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
In the recent hearing, the Indian government presented its stance that the union territory status of Jammu and Kashmir is not a permanent arrangement. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta conveyed that while Ladakh’s union territory status will persist for some time, the status of Jammu and Kashmir is subject to change.
Key Points from the Hearing:
Elaborate Statement on August 31:
The central government informed the court that it will provide a comprehensive statement on the complex political matter on August 31.
Specific Time Frame for Electoral Democracy:
A five-judge constitution bench, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, requested the government specify a timeframe for the restoration of electoral democracy in the former state.
Statement on Union Territory Status:
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta will deliver a detailed statement regarding the future of the union territory status of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh on August 31.
Importance of Democracy:
While recognizing the significance of democracy, the bench acknowledged the possibility of reorganizing the state, considering national security concerns.
End to Lack of Electoral Democracy:
The court emphasized that the absence of electoral democracy cannot continue indefinitely and urged the government to provide a specific timeline for the restoration of true democracy.
Decision to Revoke Article 370:
In 2019, Union Home Minister Amit Shah proposed the revocation of Article 370 and Article 35A. This led to an order issued by President Ram Nath Kovind, bringing Jammu and Kashmir under the same constitutional provisions as other states in India.
Consequences of Revocation:
Following the decision to revoke Article 370, tensions escalated in the region, resulting in the preventive house arrest of PDP President Mehbooba Mufti and other PDP leaders. The state witnessed a lockdown-like situation due to widespread protests against the decision.
In the ongoing hearing focused on challenging the abrogation of Article 370, the matter of removing Article 35A was raised. Chief Justice Chandrachud emphasized that Article 35A curtailed three fundamental rights.
The court seeks clarity from the government on the restoration of electoral democracy. The aim is to determine a specific timeline for the return to normalcy and the reinstatement of democratic processes in the region.