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India’s Supreme Court Upholds Article 370 revocation, Jammu and Kashmir’s Special Status

New Delhi,11 December(City Times): Article 370 revocation: India’s highest court has upheld the controversial revocation of Article 370, stripping the former state of Jammu and Kashmir of its special status. This move, implemented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in 2019, aimed to integrate the region more closely with the rest of the country.

Background and Revocation:

In August 2019, the Modi government revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, which granted significant autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir. The state, with a population exceeding 12 million, was bifurcated into two federally administered territories. The court’s decision also mandates elections in the region by September 2024.

Supreme Court Ruling:

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, while upholding the revocation, emphasized that Jammu and Kashmir lacked internal sovereignty distinct from other states. Chief Justice DY Chandrachud conveyed the judgement, urging the government to restore the region as a state at the earliest.

Justice’s Recommendation On Article 370 revocation

Justice SK Kaul, concurring with the decision, proposed the establishment of an “impartial truth and reconciliation commission” in Kashmir. This commission would investigate human rights violations by both state and non-state actors over the past decades, adding a layer of accountability to the judicial process.

Article 370 Political Implications and Discontent:

The revocation of Article 370 was a significant promise in Modi’s 2019 election campaign. The court’s decision, just months before Modi seeks a third term, has sparked disappointment among local politicians. Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah expressed his disappointment but not disheartenment, reflecting the sentiments of many in the region.

Article 370 Historical Context :

Jammu and Kashmir, once a princely state that joined India in 1947, has been a historical flashpoint between India and Pakistan. The revocation of Article 370 further altered the political landscape, leading to heightened security measures and a communication blackout in the region.

Article 370 Legal Challenges and Petitions:

The Supreme Court’s constitution bench began hearing approximately 23 petitions challenging the government’s decision in August. Petitioners emphasized the unique nature of Kashmir’s relationship with India, contending that Article 370 served as a crucial bridge between the constitutions of India and Jammu and Kashmir.

Government’s Justification and Critics’ Concerns:

The Modi government and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) argued that scrapping Article 370 was essential to integrate Kashmir fully. Critics, however, raised concerns about potential demographic changes, accusing the BJP of allowing non-Kashmiris to buy land and alter the Muslim-majority region’s character.

Article 370 Post-Revocation Scenario :

While many restrictions imposed after the revocation have been eased, the government occasionally enforces communication restrictions, drawing criticism for suppressing dissent. The picturesque Kashmir valley witnessed over 16 million tourists in 2022, indicating a gradual return to normalcy.

Conclusion:

The Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the revocation of Article 370 marks a critical chapter in Jammu and Kashmir’s history. The political, legal, and socio-cultural ramifications will continue to shape the region’s narrative. The call for elections by 2024 adds another layer to the evolving story, and the proposed truth and reconciliation commission may bring accountability to human rights violations. As the region navigates these changes, the delicate balance between autonomy and integration remains a focal point. Stay tuned for further developments on this evolving story.

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