On Monday, the Supreme Court (SC) of India unanimously upheld the order abrogating Article 370 and unanimously ruled that the special status of held Kashmir was a temporary provision. The SC has also directed to hold elections in Kashmir by September 2024.
BJP Revoking Special Status
India’s incumbent government in 2019 – the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), revoked the special status of occupied Kashmir by repealing Article 370 of the constitution. As per the Article, the Indian parliament had limited power to impose laws in the state but had authority in matters of defence, communications, and foreign affairs.
After abrogating Article 370, Indian citizens got the right to permanently settle in held Kashmir and acquire property. Several international organisations and Kahsmir called the decision an attempt to use Hindu settlers to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir.
Five-Member Bench Ruling on December 2023
Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y.Chandrachud led the five-member bench that heard the petition challenging the reading down of Article 370 & bifurcation of India-held Kashmir in two union regions.
CJI Chandrachud observed that the war conditions in state led to an interim arrangement of Article 370 of the Constitution. He added there was no intention of making the constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir a permanent body. The ruling termed contention of petitioners unacceptable, which stated that the centre has no power of decision making during proclamation under Article 356.
The court further stated that Kashmir lost the element of sovereignty after joining India. By noting Article 370 a temporary provision, the SC maintained the stance of India-held Kashmir being an integral part of the country. The apex court also upheld the verdict of including Ladakh as a union territory.
Before releasing the verdict, petitioners of the case – Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were put under house arrest.