Supreme Court admits plea challenging Article 370

Issues notice to Government of India

 The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the government of India on a plea challenging the provisions of Article 370, which provides special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
The plea, filed by a Delhi-based NGO, asks why a law passed by the J&K Assembly “deprives people from other parts of the country from acquiring immovable assets or seek employment in the state.”
The plea also questions the “inability to challenge any law made by the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly” even if it was allegedly “unconstitutional”.
Revocation of Article 370 has been a long-standing demand of the right-wing groups in the country, including some affiliated to the ruling BJP.
Though the Modi government has not taken any position on Article 370, a remark made shortly after coming to power by Minister of State in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, on the Centre being open to debate on the contentious provision, had evoked sharp responses. In its election manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had said it is in favour of abrogating Article 370, but said the issue will be discussed with all stakeholders before a decision is made.
In December last year at a rally in Jammu, Narendra Modi had suggested that it should be probed whether Article 370 has indeed benefited the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier on July 11 this year Supreme Court had dismissed a plea challenging validity of Article 370.
A bench of Chief Justice RM Lodha, Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman dismissed the plea by Kumari Vijayalakshmi Jha, who contended that Article 370 was a temporary provision that lapsed with the dissolution of the state’s constituent assembly in 1957.
The petitioner had said that a question before the apex court for its consideration was whether the temporary provision lapsed automatically with the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir on Jan 26, 1957.
Another query the court was asked to address was whether the state’s constitution, which came into force Nov 17, 1956/Jan 26, 1957 was valid as some of its provisions were inconsistent with the provisions of the Indian Constitution.
Dismissing the plea, the court wondered what made the petitioner raise the issue after Constitution of India came into force in 1950 and Jammu and Kashmir’s Constitution in 1956.

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