Srinagar: The Supreme Court of India has granted four weeks time to government of India as last chance to file counter affidavit to a petition, challenging validity of Article 370 of the Constitution of India which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
The Apex Court also allowed Jammu and Kashmir government plea, seeking four weeks time to file counter affidavit.
Service of notice is complete on (state government) but no one has entered appearance on his behalf. However, Mojahid Karim Khan, Advocate has appeared on behalf of the (state). He seeks and is given one week’s time to file the vakalatnama and four weeks time to file the counter affidavit, the apex court said, adding, Four weeks’ time, as a last chance, is also given to the Respondent no.1 (GoI) to file counter affidavit. The petitioner, Kumari Vijayalakshmi Jha, has challenged the April 11 order of the Delhi High Court rejecting her plea, underling nothing survives in it as the apex court has already dismissed a similar prayer on the issue.
As per the judgment of the Supreme Court, though as per marginal note Article 370 is a temporary provision, it will, however, continue to remain in force until the specified event in clause of the 370 Article takes place. It also noted that the Article remains in current usage. In view of the authoritative pronouncement (by the SC) it is clear that the submission of the petitioner has no merits, the Delhi High Court had said.
It had also declared that pleas raised by Jha stand fully rebutted by the Apex Court in a recent judgment in State Bank of India vs. Santosh Gupta and Another (2017) on application of SARFAESI Act.
The Supreme Court in paragraphs 14 and 15 held that the first thing that is noticed in Article 370 is that the marginal note states that it is a temporary provision with respect to the State of Jammu & Kashmir. However, unlike Article 369, which is also a temporary provision limited in point of time to five years from the commencement of this Constitution, no such limit is to be found in Article 370. Despite the fact that it is, therefore, stated to be temporary in nature, sub-clause (3) of Article 370 makes it clear that this Article shall cease to be operative only from such date as the President may by public notification declare. And this cannot be done under the proviso to Article 370 (3) unless there is a recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the State so to do, the apex court had said.
In Sampat Prakash v. the State of Jammu & Kashmir(1969), it was held that the Article will cease to operate under sub-clause (3) only when a recommendation is made by the Constituent Assembly of the State to that effect.
It was found that in fact the Constituent Assembly of the State had made a recommendation that the Article should be operative with one modification to be incorporated in the explanation to clause (1) of the Article, namely, that the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir be substituted by the expression Sadar-I-Riyasat of Jammu & Kashmir.
It is important to note, the apex court had said, that Article 370 (2) does not in any manner state that it shall cease on the completion of the work of the Constituent Assembly or its dissolution. Having regard to all these factors, this Court clearly held that though the marginal note refers to Article 370 as only a temporary provision, it is in fact in current usage and will continue to be in force until the specified event in sub-clause (3) of the said Article takes place. It was further held by the Sampat Prakash judgment that Section 21 of the General Clauses Act, 1897 was also applicable so that the power under this Article can be used from time to time to meet with varying circumstances.
Jha claimed that the Delhi High Court had dismissed her plea by “wrongly following and misreading” the earlier judgement of the apex court.
She had contended in the high court that Article 370 was a temporary provision that had lapsed with the dissolution of the state’s Constituent Assembly in 1957.
The petition had claimed that the continuance of Article 370 even after the dissolution of the state’s Constituent Assembly and the J-K Constitution never getting the assent of the President of India or Parliament or Government of India, amounted to “fraud on the basic structure of our Constitution”.
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