SC Asks Whether Spl Sta­tus For J&K Has Lapsed

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - Sa­man­waya.Rau­tray @times­group.com

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 gover nment and the state’s de­ci­sion to have a sep­a­rate C o n s t i t u t i o n , wh e n it had rat­i­fied its ac­ces­sion to In­dia un- con­di­tion­ally.

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.

Ac­cord i n g to the pe­ti­tion, Con­stituent As­sem­bly de­bates show that the tem­po­rary pro­vi­sion was at the most valid only till the time the Con­stituent As­sem­bly it- self 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 1 9 5 7 whe n 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 in­op­er­a­tive, 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.

CHAL­LENG­ING J&K CON­STI­TU­TION

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