August 2017 News

Supreme Court Asks Whether Special Status For Jammu And Kashmir Has Lapsed

8 August 2017
The Economic Times
Samanwaya Rautray

New Delhi: A Supreme Court bench led by Chief Justice JS Khehar on Tuesday asked the government to explain whether Article 370 of the Constitution, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was a temporary provision that is no more valid. The chief justice also questioned the Centre's decision to delegate matters such as citizenship to the state government and the state's decision to have a separate Constitution, when it had ratified its accession to India unconditionally. The three-judge bench, also comprising Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and DY Chandrachud, was dealing with a petition filed by lawyer Anil Kumar Jha, drawing the court's attention to the issue. Jha claimed that Article 370 was a temporary provision which would have lapsed with the passage of time. The Delhi High Court had dismissed his public interest litigation at the preliminary stage on April 11. This prompted him to approach the top court. According to the petition, Constituent Assembly debates show that the temporary provision was at the most valid only till the time the Constituent Assembly itself existed. The temporary provision would have lapsed after the Constituent Assembly of India ceased to exist, and in any case when the Constituent Assembly of J&K lapsed, he argued. In an earlier case, the top court had dismissed another plea filed by one Sampat Prakash, who argued that Article 370 had ceased to operate once the J&K Constitution came into force. 'The temporary provision of Article 370 is deemed to have lapsed automatically either in February 1954, when the state ratified the accession, or maximum in 1957 when the Constituent Assembly of J&K was dissolved,' the latest petition argued. In the alternative, it would have been valid till the Constitution of J&K continued to exist with the approval of the President, the petition said. But it was yet to be so approved. The lawyer claimed that as per the Indian and the J&K Constitutions, the state is an integral part of India. Therefore, the President could declare Article 370 in operative, he argued. He also questioned the validity of the J&K Constitution on the ground that it was yet to be ratified either by the President or Parliament.