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SC refuses to refer to larger bench plea against abrogation of Article 370

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to refer to a larger seven-judge bench the plea challenging constitutional validity of the Centre’s decision to abrogate provisions of Article 370.

The top court held that a five-judge bench, headed by Justice NV Ramana, will continue to hear the case on merits.

 

Some of the petitioners involved in the case had cited contradictions between two previous judgements of the apex court in relation to the government’s authority to repeal Article 370 in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The five-judge bench, which also comprises Justices S K Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said there were no contradictions between the two judgements.

It further held that the top court was at a stage to commence hearing on a batch of petitions which challenged the constitutional validity of the Centre’s 5 August decision abrogating provisions of Article 370 and bifurcating the state into two Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

A batch of petitions had been filed in the matter, including that of private individuals, lawyers, activists and political parties like National Conference, Sajjad Lone-led J&K People’s Conference and CPI (M) leader Mohd Yousuf Tarigami.

The petition on behalf of NC was filed by Lok Sabha MPs Mohammad Akbar Lone and Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi. In 2015, Masoodi had ruled that Article 370 was a permanent feature of the Constitution.

A plea was also filed by a group of former defence officers and bureaucrat.