Article 370 has ‘self-limiting character’: SC
The Supreme Court Wednesday said there is “intrinsic evidence” that Article 370 has a “self-limiting character” and it seems to have worked itself out after the term of the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly ended in 1957.
A five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud was hearing a batch of petitions challenging abrogation of Article 370 that accorded special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Really speaking, though the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir framed its relationship with Union of India, unless that relationship was embodied in the Indian Constitution, how will it bind the dominion of India or Parliament for successive years after 1957,” the bench, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai and Surya Kant, said.
The bench posed questions to senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayanan, appearing for one of the petitioners Soayib Qureshi, who has challenged the Centre’s August 5, 2019 decision to abrogate the provision.
CJI Chandrachud said in his view, Article 370 has two terminal points–first in clause 2 where it has been said that all decisions taken prior to the existence of the constituent assembly shall be placed for its approval and second, in proviso to clause 3, where it was said that the President can issue a notification declaring that Article 370 shall cease to exist or shall be operative with exceptions and modifications only on the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Interestingly, Article 370 is silent on what the regime should be once the constituent assembly is formed and has taken a decision. There is a complete silence. If there is complete silence in Article 370, then Article 370 possibly has worked itself out ,” the CJI said.
CJI Chandrachud asked Sankaranarayanan that if this reasoning is to be accepted, then it means that once Article 370 worked itself out, the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir will fill the void and that it will be the supreme document.