Centre for Internet & Society

Many scholars have questioned the constitutional validity of Narendra Modi government's decision to scrap Article 370 that gives special status to Jammu & Kashmir.

The article by Print was published on August 6, 2019. Pranesh Prakash was consulted.

Legally, Supreme Court should not stand by Modi govt’s decision to scrap Article 370

In the first case regarding Article 370 (Prem Nath Kaul v. State, 1959), the Supreme Court underscored the importance of the Jammu & Kashmir constituent assembly’s role. But in two other cases (Sampat Prakash v. State, 1968, and MM Damnoo v. State, 1972), it differed without even citing the 1959 case.

Some might argue that given the number of presidential orders passed under Article 370, starting with the Nehru government, there is little left to protect in the article. That’s partially true, but it is also true that Article 370 symbolises a contract between the state of Jammu & Kashmir and the Indian Union, which was negotiated as a condition of its accession to India. It doesn’t allow for the President to unilaterally abolish the article without the recommendation of the constituent assembly of the state. Monday’s presidential order will not stand judicial scrutiny. That’s why, despite the constant erosion of Article 370, it is still politically and legally unacceptable.

If this is allowed by the Supreme Court, then the federal nature of the country will cease to be, along with its democratic nature.

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