No need to refer pleas challenging Article 370 abrogation to larger bench: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to refer the pleas challenging the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir to a larger bench, saying that there’s no need for doing so. The five-judge bench will continue to hear the petitions.

The bench headed by Justice NV Ramana was hearing the pleas challenging the validity of Narendra Modi-led Centre’s move to revoke Article 370 of the constitution that granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Stating that there was no ‘direct conflict’ of opinion between two judgments — Prem Nath Kaul versus Jammu and Kashmir in 1959 and Sampat Prakash versus Jammu and Kashmir in 1970, the court maintained that no larger bench is required. It may be noted that an NGO People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, and an intervenor had sought the matter to be referred to a larger bench that the above two judgments are in direct conflict with each other

On January 23, the apex court had reserved the decision whether to deliver before a larger constitution bench of seven or nine judges. The decision was taken after hearing the arguments of the petitioners as well as the Centre. The petitioners were represented by Dinesh Dwivedi, Rajeev Dhawan, and Sanjay Parikh, while Attorney General KK Venugopal argued on behalf of the government.

The Centre had on August 5, 2019, abrogated Article 370 through a resolution in the parliament and bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories.