The Supreme Court on Friday adjourned till April the hearing of a petition challenging the validity of Article 370 of the Constitution after a request by Jammu and Kashmir and the Centre, PTI reported. Article 370 grants special, autonomous status to the state.
Attorney General KK Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, said the current situation in the state is sensitive and sought an adjournment following which a bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and MR Shah said it will hear the matter in the first week of April. “The political situation in the state is such that the matter should not be heard at this time,” said Venugopal.
Lawyers Rakesh Dwivedi and Shoeb Alam, on behalf of Jammu and Kashmir, said a letter has been moved seeking an adjournment due to the ongoing nine-phase panchayat polls in the state. The panchayat elections are scheduled to be held in nine phases between November 17 and December 11.
The Supreme Court suggested that the matter be handled with a batch of pending pleas challenging the validity of Article 35A of the Constitution, under which special rights and privileges are granted to Jammu and Kashmir’s citizens. However, the state’s counsels opposed this suggestion and contended that the two are entirely different issues.
In April, the Supreme Court had reiterated that Article 370 of the Constitution is not a temporary provision. The court was hearing an appeal against a 2017 Delhi High Court order that dismissed a plea seeking to declare Article 370 temporary in nature. The petitioner had said that Article 370 had lapsed and that the separate constitution of Jammu and Kashmir be declared illegal.
The petitioner had also claimed that continuing Article 370 even after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, and that of Jammu and Kashmir “amounts to fraud on basic structure of our Constitution”.