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SC To Pronounce Verdict On Petitions Challenging Abrogation Of Article 370 On December 11

On December 11, the Supreme Court will rule on the group of petitions that oppose the central government’s determination to repeal Article 370 of the Constitution. After hearing the case for sixteen days, the five-judge panel headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud deferred its decision for September 5. The government’s decision has been referred to by the petitioners as a “fraud on the Constitution” and an attack on India’s federal framework.

Justices Sanjay Kishan Kal, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, and Surya Kant are the other judges sitting on the bench.

In a series of more than twenty petitions, senior solicitors Kapil Sibal, Gopal Subramanium, Rajeev Dhavan, Dushyant Dave, and Gopal Sankaranarayanan among others claimed that the government had divided the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh by abusing its overwhelming majority in Parliament to enact executive orders.

The Supreme Court rejected the petitioners’ plea to send the case to a seven-judge Constitution Bench earlier in 2020, therefore the five-judge bench chose to keep the case private. The Article 370 case was heard by the Supreme Court starting on August 2 and its decision was postponed until September 5.

On August 5, 2019, the Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, took a bold step by repealing Article 370, which ended the special rights granted to Jammu and Kashmir. At the same time, the government divided the area into Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh, two separate union territories. Notably, Ladakh became a union territory without an autonomous legislature, but Jammu & Kashmir kept its legislative assembly.

Coincidentally, the date set by the Supreme Court to deliver its ruling coincides with a contentious discussion on past policy regarding Kashmir in the Winter Session of Parliament. Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Wednesday slammed India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru over what he called “historic blunders” on Kashmir which led India to lose some part of Kashmir’s territory to Pakistan.

“Nehru himself wrote to Sheikh Abdullah admitting that when our army was winning, we should not have agreed to the ceasefire. He himself admitted they could have negotiated better (at the UN). PoK, which is ours anyway, would have been with us today if the right steps were taken. So much land of the country was lost. I say these were not mistakes. These were two historic blunders,” Amit Shah said in Parliament.

“I support the word that was used — Nehruvian blunder. Because of the blunder that was committed during the time of Nehru, Kashmir had to suffer. With responsibility, I want to say that the two big blunders that happened during the tenure of Jawaharlal Nehru, happened due to his decisions, because of which Kashmir had to suffer for years,” Shah said.

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