Central government defends Article 370 abrogation; tells Supreme Court no more stone pelting, strikes, terror networks in J&K
New Delhi, July 10:
The Central government filed a fresh affidavit before the Supreme Court on Monday defending its 2019 decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution, which had conferred special status on Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
The affidavit was filed a day before a Constitution bench of the top court is slated to take up the matter after more than three years.
In its affidavit, the Union Home Ministry stated that after the abrogation of Article 370, J&K has witnessed unprecedented stability and progress, with stone pelting becoming a thing of the past.
“Life has returned to normalcy in the region after three decades of turmoil. Schools, colleges … and other public institutions are functioning efficiently… in the last three years. The earlier practice of strikes, stone pelting and bandhs are a thing of the past now,” the affidavit said.
There have been no incidents of stone pelting since the abrogation of Article 370, the affidavit underscored.
Besides, central laws like Right to Education Act and those providing reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are now applicable in J&K, it was stated.
The abrogation of the Article has led to dismantling of the terror network, and introduction of the three tier panchayat Raj system with smooth elections to district development councils as well.
Further, post abrogation, local langue’s like Kashmiri, Dogri, Urdu and Hindi have also been added as official languages, fulfilling the demand of the people, the affidavit highlighted.
The affidavit was filed in response to over 20 petitions are pending before the Supreme Court challenging the Central government’s decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution, which resulted in the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.
The erstwhile State was subsequently bifurcated into two Union Territories.
When the petitions were last listed for hearing in March 2020, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court decided not to refer the batch of petitions to a seven-judge Constitution Bench, despite some petitioners seeking a reference.
The petitioners had argued that two Supreme Court judgments – Prem Nath Kaul v. State of Jammu & Kashmir and Sampat Prakash v. State of Jammu & Kashmir – which were rendered by five-judge benches and dealt with the interpretation of Article 370, were in conflict.
However, the five-judge bench that was hearing the case declined to refer the matter to a larger bench, stating that there was no conflict between the two judgments.
The pleas were also mentioned before a Bench headed by CJI Chandrachud in February this year. The CJI had then said that he would “take a call” on listing the same.
The case is listed for directions tomorrow before a Constitution bench of the apex court.