Supreme Court to hear pleas challenging abrogation of Article 370 after Dussehra break

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The Supreme Court on Friday said that it will hear the petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which granted autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir, after the court’s Dussehra vacation, Bar and Bench reported.

“We will certainly list that,” Chief Justice of India UU Lalit remarked when the matter was mentioned before him.

The court will be closed on account of Dussehra from October 3 to October 10.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led Union government, which has a two-thirds majority in Parliament, scrapped statehood and special status under Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, 2019. The former state was split into two Union Territories.

The Centre had also repealed Article 35A, which ensured special rights and privileges to people defined as “permanent residents” of Jammu and Kashmir. Since then, the region has been under central rule.

Subsequently, over 20 petitions were filed in the Supreme Court against the abrogation of Article 370. Amongst the petitioners were lawyers, activists, politicians, retired civil servants and non-governmental organisations.

In 2019, the petitions were referred to a Constitution bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai and Surya Kant.

During initial hearings, senior counsel Dinesh Dwivedi, who appeared as an intervener in the case, had argued that two earlier judgements by the Supreme Court contradicted each other with regard to the scope and intent of Article 370.

Since those judgements were delivered by a five-judge bench, a bench of seven or more judges should be constituted to hear the petitions, he argued.

However, in March 2021, the five-judge bench decided that there was no need to refer the batch of petitions to a larger bench.

The case has not been heard since then.

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