Article 370: SC declines urgent hearing of pleas

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to grant permission for a plea challenging the Presidential order on Article 370.

The matter was mentioned for urgent listing before a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana. Advocate M L Sharma, who has filed the petition, urged the court that his plea be listed for hearing either on August 12 or 13. The bench, however, told Sharma that there was no need for an urgent hearing and that his plea would be heard in due course.

Sharma in his plea urged the court to quash the presidential order. A demand that a bench led by Justice NV Ramana scoffed at. Fresh petitions filed in the court get listed in a week for a hearing but have to be mentioned on an out-of-turn basis before senior-most judge available.

Advocate Sharma said United Nations (UN) may be approached to intervene in the matter, to which Justice Ramana asked if the UN can stay constitutional amendments done by the Indian Parliament. 

Article 370 was incorporated in the Indian Constitution to give a special status to the states of Jammu and Kashmir. This was per the condition laid down by the Maharaja Hari Singh during the annexation of Jammu and Kashmir with India. While the other princely states were given the same status as the other provinces. In the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the Constitution Assembly requested that only those provisions of the Indian Constitution that corresponded to the original Instrument of Accession should be applied to the State. Accordingly, the Article 370 was incorporated into the Indian Constitution, which stipulated that the other articles of the Constitution that gave powers to the Central Government would be applied to Jammu and Kashmir only with the concurrence of the State’s constituent assembly. This was a “temporary provision” in that its applicability was intended to last till the formulation and adoption of the State’s constitution.

However, the State’s constituent assembly dissolved itself on 25 January 1957 without recommending either abrogation or amendment of Article 370. Thus the Article had become a permanent feature of the Indian constitution, as confirmed by various rulings of the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, the latest of which was on April 2018.

On 5 August 2019, the president of India Ram Nath Kovind issued a constitutional order revoking the 1954 order, making all the provisions of the Indian constitution applicable to Jammu and Kashmir. Following resolutions passed in both the Houses of Parliament, he issued a further order on 6 August declaring all the clauses of Article 370 to be inoperative.

Also, the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill was passed in both the Houses of Parliament, which set the stage for the Centre to declare Ladakh and J&K as UTs with an Assembly. 


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