Supreme Court Says Power to scrap Article 370 vests with the Parliament

On Friday, the Supreme Court observed that Article 370 of the Constitution can be scrapped only by the Parliament. Article 370 provides special status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The Court was expressing its words when dealing with the Public Interest Litigation filed by B P Yadav who is a lawyer in the Courts of Andhra Pradesh. He submitted that the matter of Article 370 is to be decided by Supreme Court. But the Court rejected the plea on the ground that the power on said issue vests with the Parliament. The petitioner also contended before the Court to validate and extend all the laws to Jammu and Kashmir as well.

The Supreme Court was giving its decision few days after the observation made by the High Court of J & K where it stated that Article 370 is considered to be a permanent provision giving special status to J & K. The Apex Court therefore refused to remove Article 370 from the Constitution and held that this Court will not issue such an order. The Court also said that it cannot issue a directive even to the Parliament to remove the provision from the statute book. The bench consisted of Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy. The petitioner further made the argument that to reach a final decision, the Supreme Court shall interfere in the mater. The Court in reply said that the Court can struck down a provision as ultra vires the Constitution but cannot insist the Parliament to remove a provision from the Constitution. The Court also asked the petitioner to file a better petition if he wants to proceed with the matter anymore.

The petitioner also requested the Court to extend the applicability of all laws to the State of J & K. He also contended that the words “except Jammu and Kashmir” which is seen in majority of statute books be removed. In the words of the petitioner, Article 370 as well as the Presidential order affects the Constitutional structure and thereby violates fundamental rights. He further argued that Article 370 is said to be a temporary provision which means that such a provision is to be removed at some time.

Adv. Jewel Panicker