The Supreme Court on Tuesday began hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 that had given special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
A 5-judge Constitution bench, headed by Justice NV Ramana, started the hearing with senior advocate Raju Ramachandran arguing the case on behalf of bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal, Shehla Rashid, and other petitioners.
Ramachandran submitted before the bench, also comprising justices SK Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai, and Surya Kant, that how by using the “temporary cover” of President’s rule, an “irreversible change in a federal relationship between a state of the Union and the Union” could be brought in.
A batch of petitions has been filed in the matter including that of private individuals, lawyers, activists, and political parties like National Conference, Sajjad Lone-led J&K Peoples Conference, and CPI (M) leader Mohd Yousuf Tarigami.
The petition has also raised a question on whether the erstwhile state could have been split into two Union Territories without the participation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, through their elected representatives.
“The second major head will be with particular reference to Jammu and Kashmir that is when Article 370 prescribes within itself the mechanism for alteration in that relationship, whether that mechanism can be disobeyed while making this irreversible change,” Ramachandra said.
The petition on behalf of NC was filed by Lok Sabha MPs Mohammad Akbar Lone and Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi. In 2015, Justice (retd) Masoodi had ruled that Article 370 was a permanent feature of the Constitution.
A plea was also filed by a group of former defence officers and bureaucrats ~ professor Radha Kumar, ex-member of Home Ministry’s Group of Interlocutors for J&K (2010-11), former J&K cadre IAS officer Hindal Haidar Tyabji, Air Vice Marshal (retd) Kapil Kak, Major Gen. (retd) Ashok Kumar Mehta, ex-Punjab-cadre IAS officer Amitabha Pande, and ex-Kerala-cadre IAS officer Gopal Pillai.