Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, has been a matter of much debate and contention. Recently, the Supreme Court delivered a significant verdict regarding this issue, settling the arguments around it.
What Did the Verdict Say?
In a unanimous judgment, the five-judge Constitution bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud ruled that Article 370 was a “temporary provision.” This verdict supported the government’s decision made on August 5, 2019, to remove the provisions of Article 370 that bestowed special status on Jammu and Kashmir.
The court not only upheld this decision but also directed the restoration of statehood for Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest. Additionally, it set a deadline for the assembly elections in the region, scheduled to be held by September 30, 2024.
Background of the Case
The government’s move to scrap Article 370 in 2019, dividing the state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh – had been challenged through various petitions. The petitioners argued that this action by the Centre, nullifying Article 370, was against the Constitution since the powers of the Constituent Assembly were transferred to the Jammu and Kashmir legislature after the Assembly was dissolved in 1957.
Reactions to the Verdict
The Supreme Court’s decision sparked reactions from various quarters. The BJP hailed it as a historical move, emphasizing that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s action strengthened India’s unity and integrity.
However, there were differing opinions. Some leaders expressed disappointment and disagreement with the verdict. For instance, Ghulam Nabi Azad, a former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, termed the judgment as “sad and unfortunate,” stating that the people of the region were not happy with it but had to accept it. On the other hand, Mehbooba Mufti of the People’s Democratic Party conveyed that the fight for dignity and honor would persist, indicating that they would not lose hope despite their disagreement with the decision.
What Lies Ahead?
The Supreme Court’s ruling settles the debate on Article 370 and signifies a significant legal milestone. However, it also opens discussions about the region’s future, including statehood restoration and the political landscape, triggering various opinions and responses from different stakeholders.