The Supreme Court on December 11 will deliver its verdict on petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Live Law reported.

A Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai and Surya Kant had reserved its verdict on September 5 after hearing over 20 petitions challenging the Central government’s decisions to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and split the erstwhile state into two Union territories in 2019.

The hearing in the pleas began on August 2 and lasted for 16 days, during which the court heard arguments on several issues, including the constitutional validity of the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370, the validity of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act that split the erstwhile state into two Union territories, the challenges to the imposition of governor’s rule in Jammu and Kashmir in June 2018 and the imposition of president’s rule in the erstwhile state six months later.

The petitioners had argued that the provision of Article 370 was not temporary and that Jammu and Kashmir’s Constituent Assembly wanted it to remain in existence. They also argued that Article 356, which imposes the president’s rule in a state, was misused.

The Centre, however, contended that Article 370 was a temporary provision and that the government has no intention of changing special provisions in the Constitution applicable to the country’s northeastern states.

The government also told the court that it was ready to hold elections in Jammu and Kashmir but could not specify a timeline for restoring its statehood. It also argued that the abrogation of Article 370 brought normalcy to Jammu and Kashmir.

During the hearings, the Supreme Court observed that the Centre could not justify the means used to abrogate Article 370 merely by pointing to the ends achieved through the legal changes.

Notably, the bench also observed that Article 35A of the Constitution, which was also repealed in 2019 by the Centre, took away the fundamental rights of non-residents of Jammu and Kashmir. Article 35A empowered the legislature in the erstwhile state to define its permanent residents.

Justice Chandrachud had said that the law curtailed the rights to equal opportunity of state employment, acquire property, and settle in Jammu and Kashmir for non-residents.

Also read: Permanent provision vs Centre’s authority: What transpired in the SC’s Article 370 case hearings