Reacting to the Supreme Court’s decision on the abrogation of Article 370, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) expressed its disappointment over the verdict that was delivered on December 11 and called it a disturbing one. Reflecting its views on the matter, the Polit Bureau of the party in a press note released asserted that the apex court’s verdict on the matter is disturbing and has serious consequences for the federal structures of the constitution.
The verdict of the Supreme Court dismissing the challenges to the abrogation of Article 370 and dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir is disturbing and has serious consequences for the federal structure of our constitution, which is one of its fundamental features, reads the press note released by the Communist party.
Further it reads that the verdict says that Jammu and Kashmir does not retain any element of sovereignty after the Instrument of Accession was signed and hence rules that the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir is redundant. But was not signing of the Instrument of Accession conditional to retaining a special status contained in now abrogated Article 370?
The press note, released by the Polit Bureau further reads that the verdict declares that Jammu and Kashmir is like any other state in the Indian Union, thereby depriving it even the special features granted to the north-eastern states and some others under various clauses of Article 370.
The Apex Courts verdict on challenges to the abrogation of Article 370
The Supreme Court on December 11, upheld the Union Government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 of the constitution which gave special status to Jammu & Kashmir and said that every decision taken by the Centre on behalf of a State can’t be subject to a legal challenge.
A five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, and Surya Kant delivered the verdict.
CJI Chandrachud reading out the judgement said that every decision taken by the Centre on behalf of a State under proclamation can’t be subject to a legal challenge and it will lead to the administration of the State to a standstill.
Supreme Court said that it has held that Article 370 was a temporary provision. “The proclamation of Maharaja stated that the Constitution of India will supersede. With this, the para of Instrument of Accession ceases to exist…. Article 370 was an interim arrangement due to war conditions in the State. Textual reading also indicates that Article 370 is a temporary provision,” the Court said.
The Court also noted that Article 370 was meant for the constitutional integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the Union and it was not for disintegration and the President can declare that Article 370 ceases to exist.
“Concurrence of the State Government was not required to apply all provisions of the Constitution using Article 370(1)(d). So, the President of India taking the concurrence of the Union government was not malafide,” the Court noted.
The Supreme Court also directed the Election Commission to hold Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections by September 30, 2024. The Supreme Court said in view of Centre’s submission on restoration of statehood of Jammu and Kashmir, it directs that statehood shall be restored as soon as possible.
It is to be noted that other than the CPI M, the Congress party too has expressed its disappointment over the SC verdict and asserted that though the party welcomes SC direction on holding election in Jammu and Kashmir it respectfully disagrees with the judgement on the manner in which Article 370 was abrogated.
It is pertinent to mention here that on August 5, 2019, the central government announced the revocation of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir granted under Article 370 and split the region into two union territories. The announcement paved the way for a complete integration of Jammu and Kashmir with Bharat, fulfilling the decades old resolve of the Bhartiya Janta party (BJP).