Opposing the plea, the Centre had said that abrogation of provisions of Article 370 has become a "fait accompli" leaving sole option to accept the change. (Photo Credit: File Photo)
The Supreme Court on Monday ruled out referring to a larger seven-judge bench the batch of pleas, challenging the constitutional validity of the Centre’s decision of August 5 last year to abrogate provisions of Article 370. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice N V Ramana pronounced the order. The apex court had on January 23 reserved its order on the issue of whether the batch of pleas would be referred to a larger seven-judge bench.
The Supreme Court while rejecting the petitions said that there is no conflict between Prem Nath Kaul and Sampath Prakash decisions. They have sought reference to a larger bench on the ground that two judgements of apex court—Prem Nath Kaul versus Jammu and Kashmir in 1959 and Sampat Prakash versus Jammu and Kashmir in 1970 -- which dealt with the issue of Article 370 are in direct conflict each other and therefore the current bench of five judges could not hear the issue.
Opposing the plea, the Centre had said that abrogation of provisions of Article 370, which granted special status to erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, has become a "fait accompli" leaving sole option to accept the change. NGO People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association and an intervenor have sought referring the matter to a larger bench.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for Jammu and Kashmir administration, had said he adopts the arguments of the Attorney General and favours no reference to larger bench.
Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan, appearing for Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference, had said that he is supporting Centre on the question that no reference is needed to a larger bench.
A number of petitions have been filed in the apex court including those of private individuals, lawyers, activists and political parties and they have also challenged the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which splits J&K into two union territories—Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
(With Agency Inputs)