New Delhi: In a major breakthrough, the Supreme Court on Monday refused to refer a batch of pleas, challenging the constitutional validity of the Centre’s decision to abrogate provisions of Article 370, to a larger seven-judge bench. The court ruled that a five-judge bench was competent to hear the case. Also Read - Anguished Iltija Mufti Says J-K Grappling With Crisis After Article 370 Was Revoked
“There was no conflict between two previous judgments of the apex court – Prem Nath Kaul versus Jammu and Kashmir in 1959 and Sampat Prakash versus Jammu and Kashmir in 1970 – which dealt with the issue of Article 370”, observed a five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice NV Ramana. Also Read - British MP Debbie Abrahams, Critical of Government's Article 370 Move, Denied Entry Into India
NGO People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association and an intervenor have sought referring the matter to a larger bench on the ground that two judgements of apex court — Prem Nath Kaul versus Jammu and Kashmir in 1959 and Sampat Prakash versus Jammu and Kashmir in 1970 — which dealt with the issue of Article 370 are in direct conflict each other and therefore the current bench of five judges could not hear the issue, but the Centre had opposed the plea. Also Read - Despite All 'Pressure', we Stand by Our Decision on Article 370, Citizenship Amendment Act: PM Modi in Varanasi
The Centre had said that abrogation of provisions of Article 370, which granted special status to erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, has become a “fait accompli” leaving sole option to accept the change.
On January 23, the five-judge bench, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai and Surya Kan had reserved its order on the issue.