A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Monday rejected a prayer to refer petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir, to a larger bench.
The ruling came on a plea by senior journalist Prem Shankar Jha, who contended that the matter should be referred to a larger bench as there was a conflict between two other five-judge bench decisions – Prem Nath Kaul v State of Jammu and Kashmir in 1959, and the 1970 ruling in Sampat Prakash v State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Appearing for Jha, senior advocate Dinesh Dwivedi argued that while Prem Nath Kaul v State of Jammu and Kashmir recognised the temporary nature of Article 370, the latter case “reverses the life and scope of Article 370 as a transitory provision and recognises its permanence giving perennial source of power to the Union/President to regulate the governing relationship between the Union and the State”.
Turning this down, a bench headed by Justice N V Ramana said, “This court is of the opinion that there is no conflict between the judgements in the two cases. The plea of the counsel to refer the present matter to a larger bench on this ground is therefore rejected.” The bench, also comprising Justices S K Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said the “judgements cannot be interpreted in a vacuum, separate from their facts and context.”
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