In a landmark decision, the top court of the country has affirmed the legality of revoking Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir, granting further political mileage to the Modi government ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The Supreme Court’s ruling on Monday upholds the annulment of Article 370 and directs the restoration of full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir. Additionally, it suggests completing the electoral process in the region by September 30 of the coming year.
Chief Justice Diwai Chandrachud, leading a five-judge constitutional bench, delivered the verdict. Legal experts believe that by endorsing the challenge to the annulment of Article 370, the Supreme Court has demonstrated a commitment to fairness. Presently, Jammu and Kashmir remains under the administration of the President. The Supreme Court has indicated that elections must be conducted in both Jammu and Kashmir within the next nine months.
The Modi government had taken a historic step by abrogating Article 370, separating Ladakh as a separate centrally administered region. This decision faced legal challenges, and the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court began hearing the case almost four years ago. The verdict announced today clarifies that the application of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir was never intended to be a permanent arrangement but rather a temporary provision. Therefore, the President retains the authority to revoke it.
Chief Justice Gawai, Justice Suryakant, and Chief Justice Diwai Chandrachud asserted that Jammu and Kashmir, upon acceding to the Indian Union, progressively came under its sovereignty. Unlike other states, it did not have a distinct sovereignty. The use of Article 370 was a temporary measure due to the wartime situation. The decision to make Ladakh a separate centrally administered region has also been deemed legal by the Supreme Court.
In light of this ruling, all provisions of the Indian Constitution are now applicable in Jammu and Kashmir. Notably, as Article 370 no longer restricts the application of other constitutional provisions, the entire constitutional framework is now enforceable in the region.