National Conference MPs move Supreme Court over Article 370, bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]WO National Conference (NC) leaders on Saturday approached the Supreme Court against Centre’s move to scrap state’s special status and divide it into two Union Territories.

The petition jointly filed by Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi, both Lok Sabha MPs of NC, stated that the Centre’s move was “illegal”, maintaining that the consent of the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir was not taken into consideration before scrapping Article 370. It also challenged the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019 bifurcating the state into the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

The petitioners have sought a direction from the top court to “declare the Presidential Order unconstitutional, void, and inoperative.”

“The impugned Presidential Orders and Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act unconstitutionally undermine the scheme of Article 370,” the petition read.

Here’re major takeaways from the petition:


  • The impugned Presidential Orders and Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act unconstitutionally undermine the scheme of Article 370.Presidential Order C.O. 272 uses Article 370(1)(d) – which was meant to apply other provisions of the Constitution to the state of Jammu and Kashmir –alters Article 370 itself, and thereby the terms of the federal relationship between the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union of India
  • Having been passed during an extended period of President’s Rule, the Presidential Order substitutes the concurrence of the Governor for that of the Government (and effectively, therefore, amounts to the Central Government (acting through the President) taking its own consent (under President’s Rule) to change the very character of a federal unit. In other words, the Presidential Order takes cover of a temporary situation, meant to hold the field until the return of the elected government, to accomplish a fundamentally, permanently, and irreversibly alteration of the status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir without the concurrence, consultation or recommendation of the people of that State, acting through their elected representatives. This, it is respectfully submitted, amounts to an overnight abrogation of the democratic rights and freedoms guaranteed to the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir upon its accession.
  • By making all the provisions of the Indian Constitution applicable per se – and in perpetuity – to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, the impugned Order undermines one of the basic purposes of Article 370, which was to facilitate the extension of constitutional provisions to the State in an incremental an orderly manner, based upon the needs and requirements at a particular time, without dismantling the State Constitution.
  • The impugned Order – by replacing the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly with that of the legislative assembly in order to alter the terms of Article 370 – assumes that the legislative assembly of the State of Jammu and Kashmir has a power that its own Constitution, under Article 147, denies to it. Thus, at the very least, the impugned Presidential Order is ineffective insofar as it seeks to alter the scheme of Article 370.
  • In addition to the impugned Presidential Orders, which wrongly attempt to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution, the Parliament of India has attempted – through the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act of 2019 – to degrade the status of the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories (one with a legislature and one without). It is respectfully submitted that the Indian federal scheme – as exemplified by Article 1 and Article 3 of the Indian Constitution – does not permit Parliament to retrogressively downgrade statehood into a less representative form such as a Union Territory.


Since the Centre moved to bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir on August 6, three petitions seeking to void the decision have been filed before the Supreme Court.

Another habeas corpus petition has been filed by a Kashmiri student, saying that he had not spoken to his parents due to continuing communication blackout.

Restrictions were eased to allow people in Kashmir to offer Friday prayers in local mosques, officials said on Friday, as security forces were put on high alert across the Valley in an apparent move to prevent possible protests.


Read the petition filed by National Conference’s MPs: