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Article 370 is an example of federalism, say counsel

Rajeev Dhavan says the Article, which was abrogated in August 2019, was part and parcel of the multi symmetrical federalism that defined the nation

August 16, 2023 10:27 pm | Updated 11:17 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Several petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 were referred to a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 2019. File

Several petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 were referred to a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in 2019. File | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Senior advocates Dushyant Dave and Rajeev Dhavan on Wednesday argued in the Supreme Court that Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was not a “relic” but a “brilliant articulation of statesmanship” by the Indian Constitution’s framers.

Appearing before a Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, Mr. Dhavan submitted that the Article, which was abrogated in August 2019, was part and parcel of the multi symmetrical federalism that defined the nation.

Supreme Court hearing on Article 370 abrogation | Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6

Mr. Dhavan argued that abrogation cannot be done when the erstwhile State was under the President’s rule. The consent of the State government was required before the President could have gone ahead.

The Parliament could not have assumed the role of the State Legislature and given itself the authority to change the very identity of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Mr. Dhavan said the entire exercise of the President’s rule needs to be examined. “A full, frank and complete disclosure to the Parliament and people was necessary,” he submitted.

‘Brilliant compromise’

Mr. Dave, while delving into the particular circumstances which led to the accession of the princely State of Jammu and Kashmir into India, said Article 370 was a “brilliant compromise arrived to persuade the people of Jammu and Kashmir to accede to India”.

He said the Union had given the people of the erstwhile State a promise, the abrogation of Article 370 was a breach of that promise.

“If you start tinkering with diversity, nothing will be left,” Mr. Dave submitted.

He said the act of abrogation was a “fraud on the Constitution”.

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