Abrogation of Article 370: Story so far

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On August 10, 2023, the Supreme Court of India concluded the hearing of a batch of petitions related to the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India and was told to resume on August 16. The matter was heard by the Constitution bench including Chief Justice of India DY Chadrachud, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Surya Kant, Justice BR Gavai, and Justice Sanjiv Khanna. Yesterday, the Constitution bench of the SC heard the matter for 5th time, where Senior Advocate Zaffar Shah submitted his contentions on behalf of the Jammu & Kashmir Bar Association. He argued that the state of J&K retained Constitutional autonomy as it did not sign an IoA (Instrument of Accession) and a merger agreement. He said that “We believe that we have constitutional autonomy under the Constitution of India itself. That was taken away. We’re contending that you cannot take away the autonomy of the State. This autonomy comes from IoA and Article 370.”

Earlier on August 9, the contentions of Senior Advocate Gopal Subramanian commenced the arguments and referred to “Section 147 of the J&K Constitution which bars amendment that seeks to make changes in the provisions of the Indian Constitution as applicable to J&K”. The hearing concluded with the statement of SA Shah “Article 370 is a special relationship between J&K and India. What does the constitution of India do with a state that hasn’t merged but acceded?” For the first three hearings, Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal presented his contentions before the Constitution bench. He argued on various aspects related to the Abrogation of Article 370. On the 3rd day of the hearing, Sibal asked “Is there a limit to the emergency power? Or is it unlimited? Can emergency be passed to make permanent changes? Can the constituent power be equated with ordinary power effacing the source of their authority? Can Constitutional change happen without consultation with the help of J&K despite an express provision in that regard?”