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Supreme Court Rejects PIL Seeking Declaration on Constitutional Validity of Article 370 Abrogation

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Published on: 22 August 2023 at 12:30 IST

The Supreme Court has dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that sought a declaration confirming the constitutionality of the amendments made to Article 370(1) and the removal of Article 35A from the Constitution of India in Baby Devi Bonia V. Union Of India and Ors.

The PIL claimed that these actions were valid and lawful acts carried out by the Union of India.

The bench comprising Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, Justice J.B. Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra expressed skepticism about the nature of the petition, questioning why the petitioner sought a declaration from the court affirming the validity of the abrogation of Article 370.

The court noted that the issue of the constitutional validity of these actions is already pending before a Constitution Bench and that the present PIL is misconceived.

Advocate Baby Devi Bonia had filed the PIL, arguing that the abrogation of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by the Central Government had led to the integration of the region’s residents into the national mainstream.

Bonia asserted that this integration had effectively countered the efforts of secessionist and anti-national forces, leading to improved stability and normalcy in the region.

The PIL further emphasized that the allocation of Rs. 28,400 Crore in the Central Sector Scheme in February 2021 was expected to foster substantial industrial development in the region.

The petitioner also highlighted that the powers to approve amendments to Article 370 rested with the President and were never transferred to the state legislature.

The PIL contended that the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A was in line with the Indian Constitution, as they were temporary provisions that could be removed through Presidential order, which was duly carried out.

The PIL also pointed out that the repeal of these articles in the Indian Parliament garnered broad, multi-party support.

The PIL stressed that a majority of Kashmiris supported the abrogation of Article 370 and that the restrictions in the region were aimed at preventing external interference and terrorist activities.

However, a separate five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and including Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice BR Gavai, and Justice Surya Kant, commenced day-to-day hearings on August 2nd to address a series of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to the former state of Jammu and Kashmir.