Article 370: SC to decide Monday on petitions seeking a larger bench

FE Online

Article 370 validity: A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will pronounce its order on Monday, March 2, on whether petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the abrogation of the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 to be referred to a larger bench, according to news agency ANI. Last month, the Supreme Court had said that it would refer the issue to a larger 7-judge Constitution bench only if satisfied that there was a direct conflict in two earlier verdicts - Prem Nath Kaul vs J&K in 1959 and Sampat Prakash vs J&K in 1970 - of the top court which has heard the matter twice. The top court had said that it would refer the matter to a larger bench only after petitioners are able to point out a direct conflict between the two earlier judgments.

Last year in August, the central government abolished the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the Himalayan state into two union territories. Following this move, a number of petitions were filed in the top court challenging the constitutional validity of the changes brought in to strip off the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The apex court constituted a 5-judge constitution bench to hear the matter. Headed by Justice NV Ramana, the Constitution bench has Justices S K Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant as judges.

The Supreme Court is dealing with over nearly hundred petitions filed by individuals and political parties. Some of the opposition parties, too, have called the abrogation of special status ‘unconstitutional’ as the Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir was bypassed by the Centre while deciding on Article 370.