The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government's response on a petition seeking the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution, which confers special status on the state of Jammu & Kashmir. The move has reopened a controversy that has confronted lawmakers and the judiciary for decades.
Earlier this year, the court had ruled that Article 370 could not be scrapped unless an event specified in Article 370 (3) took place. Article 370 (3) says,
"Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this article, the President may, by public notification, declare that this article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify: Provided that the recommendation of the constituent assembly of the state referred to in clause (2) shall be necessary before the President issues such a notification."
The petitioner, Kumari Vijayalakshmi Jha filed an appeal against a Delhi High Court judgment of April 11. The matter came up for hearing before the bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice D Y Chandrachud to issue notices to the Union and state governments. The petitioner was represented through her counsel Anil Kumar Jha, who contended that Article 370 was a temporary provision that should have been scrapped in the 1950s.
The Delhi HC had dismissed Jha's PIL citing the aforementioned SC judgment. The petitioner said that, on October 26, 1947, the maharaja of J&K Hari Singh signed the 'Instrument of Accession' integrating the state to India, and that special status granted to J&K under Article 370 was only a temporary measure. On October 27, 1950, a resolution was passed for convening the constituent assembly for the state of J&K.
Pursuant to elections, the constituent assembly was formed on November 17, 1956, and it later adopted a separate constitution for J&K. Jha said the constituent assembly was dissolved on January 26, 1957, which should have been the deadline for abrogation of Article 370.
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