Abrogation of Article 370: Supreme Court to hear the petitions from August 2, 2023

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Today, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud fixed August 2, 2023, as the starting date for hearing a batch of petitions against the abrogation of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. CJI said that the petitions will be heard every day from 2nd August except Mondays and Fridays. Earlier on 3rd July 2023, a notice was issued by the Supreme Court stating that the five-judge Constitution bench for hearing matters related to dilution of Article 370 constitutes, CJI Chandrachud, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Surya Kant, Justice BR Gavai, and Justice Sanjiv Khanna. Article 370 strips the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir of its special privileges or status and bifurcates Jammu & Kashmir into the Union territories of J&K and Ladakh. 

During the proceedings, the need to file an additional affidavit was questioned by Justice SK Kaul. This was because, on July 10, an affidavit was filed by the Union Government related to the present status of J&K after the abrogation of its special status. Pointing to this, Justice Kaul stated that a rejoinder affidavit will be filed by the other side and the process will continue this way. In this context, the Solicitor General of India appeared for the Union Government, Tushar Mehta, mentioned that the affidavit does not provide appropriate information regarding the current situation of Jammu & Kashmir; therefore, there is no requirement of filing a rejoinder affidavit. CJI further said “The affidavit of the centre has no bearing on the constitutional question”

In addition to this, Senior Advocate, Dushyant Dave, appearing for petitioners said to disregard the Union’s affidavit and mentioned that it will not be relied on for arguing the questions related to Constitutional issues. The same was recorded by the bench in order, “Solicitor general has informed that though the Union has filed an additional affidavit giving its perspective on the post-notification developments, the contents of the affidavit have no bearing on constitutional issues and thus are not to be relied on for that purpose.” The nodal counsel for preparing compilations was also nominated by the top Court, Advocate Kanu Agarwal from the side of the respondents and Advocate S Prasanna from the side of the petitioners. In addition, the SC bench ordered to file all written submissions and compilations by 27 July 2023. 

Along with this, the bench agreed to change the cause title of the matter, suggested by Senior Advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, to ‘In Re: Article 370 petitions’. The SC bench was further informed by Senior Advocate Raju Ramachandran that Mr. Shehla Rashid and Mr. Shah Faesel fo not want to continue as petitioners and requested the bench to delete their names and the order for the same was passed. 

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