The Supreme Court of India is set to hear petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, today. The hearing is scheduled for July 11, 2023, and will be conducted by a five-judge constitution bench led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud.
The Central government has filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court defending the abrogation of Article 370. In the affidavit, the government cites stability and progress witnessed in Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation, including a decrease in stone-pelting incidents and dismantling of terror networks.
The affidavit emphasizes that the removal of Article 370 was necessary to curb terrorism, which had plagued the region for three decades. It also highlights the positive developments since the abrogation, such as the introduction of the three-tier Panchayati Raj system and successful elections to district development councils. Schools, colleges, and industries in the Valley are functioning normally, and industrial development is underway.
The affidavit further states that the demands of the people have been met by adding local languages like Kashmiri, Dogri, Urdu, and Hindi as official languages. The affidavit was filed in response to more than 20 pending petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370.
Article 370 of the Indian constitution provided Jammu and Kashmir with special status, including a separate constitution, a state flag, and internal administrative autonomy. It was considered a permanent feature of the Indian Constitution until August 5, 2019, when the Government of India issued a Presidential Order superseding the 1954 order.
The Presidential Order made all provisions of the Indian constitution applicable to Jammu and Kashmir, except for clause 1 of Article 370. Subsequently, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 was enacted, dividing the state into two union territories: the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh. The reorganisation took effect on October 31, 2019.
The petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 were last listed for hearing in March 2020. At that time, a five-judge bench declined to refer the matter to a larger bench and decided to hear all matters related to Article 370 together with another batch of petitions challenging the validity of Articles 370 and 35A.
This hearing in the Supreme Court is crucial as it will determine the fate of Article 370 and its abrogation, shaping the future of Jammu and Kashmir.