11 December 2023 became a historic day for the sovereignty of India and the state of Jammu and Kashmir. On this day, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court upheld the decision to remove Articles 370 and 35A from Jammu and Kashmir and said that it was a temporary section which had to be removed sooner or later. A bench headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said that Article 370 was a temporary arrangement. The court said that the Constitution of India is superior to the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and neutralization of Article 370 has strengthened the process of integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India. Justice Chandrachud said that the removal of Section 370 is constitutionally valid and the decision of the Central Government is absolutely right.
The Supreme Court has made many important and historical observations in its decision in which it has been said that after the signing of the Instrument of Accession, Jammu and Kashmir has no element of sovereignty. There is no internal sovereignty for Jammu and Kashmir. The exercise of the President’s power must have proper relation to the purpose of the President’s rule. The Court has made it clear that when the Constituent Assembly was dissolved, only the temporary power of the Assembly ceased and there was no restriction on the orders of the President. The exercise of power by the President was not malicious and did not require any consent with the State. The continued exercise of power by the President shows that the process of unification was ongoing and thus invalidates CO 273. The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir is operative and has been declared null and void. Chief Justice Chandrachud said that statehood will be restored to Jammu and Kashmir and we maintain the decision to separate Ladakh. The Supreme Court finally said that we direct the Election Commission to conduct elections by 30 September 2024 under the Reorganization Act and Section 14 of the State Register.
The court has also given an order that a committee should be formed to investigate all types of terrorist/migration incidents that took place in the state after 1980, which is a very important thing and opens the way for Kashmiri Pandits to get justice. After the introduction of this system, the incidents that took place against Kashmiri Pandits in the valley after 1980 can now be investigated. This bench of the Supreme Court was headed by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and the bench included Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice Sanjeev Khanna, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant.
Justice Kaul’s historical comment
In his judgment on Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, while referring to the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, said that he has suggested forming a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate the human rights violations that have taken place in the state since 1980. He said that this commission will not work like a criminal investigation commission. Justice Kaul believes that the women, children and men of the state have suffered a lot due to terrorism. There is a need to forget this and heal the wounds to move forward. Developing a collective understanding of the human rights violations committed against the people here by the state and extra-state actors would be the first impartial effort towards healing. They can be compensated to a great extent with the help of the Commission.
It is noteworthy that after the bill related to removal of Articles 370 and 35A presented by Home Minister Amit Shah was passed by both the Houses of Parliament on August 5, 2019, people like dynastic leaders of Jammu and Kashmir state Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti and many other organizations The Supreme Court was approached against this. This historic decision has come after 16 days of hearing on their petitions between August and September, on which all the countrymen and political parties including separatist leaders and Pakistan were keeping an eye on.
After the decision of the division bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud, the ground has slipped from under the feet of the pro-Pakistan separatist leaders and the entire opposition including Congress. After the Supreme Court declared the decision to remove Articles 370 and 35-A valid, on the one hand, the decision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has now got constitutional recognition, on the other hand, it has dealt a deep blow to the politics of the entire opposition including the Congress. It seems that this issue of national sovereignty was also being viewed through the lens of appeasement politics.
The Supreme Court has answered all the questions that opposition leaders and separatists were raising on Article 370 and has also made it clear that now there has been a complete stop to Article 370. After the decision of the Supreme Court, now Jammu and Kashmir has become a state with equal system like other states of the country. After the supreme decision has been taken, the leaders of Gupkar alliance and separatists of Jammu and Kashmir have lost their senses. The way all the leaders of the Gupkar alliance in Jammu and Kashmir are refusing to accept the court’s decision and talking about a long struggle is a matter of concern. There has been a reaction from Pakistan also on the decision of the Supreme Court and there is an uproar there.
After the decision of the Supreme Court, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on his social media accounts that the decision to abrogate Article 370 is historic. This is a resounding declaration of hope, progress and unity for our sisters and brothers in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The Court, with its profound knowledge, has strengthened the basic essence of unity. Which we, as Indians, consider and cherish more than others. Many BJP leaders, including Union Home Minister Amit Shah, welcomed the court’s decision. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has also welcomed the decision saying that this decision will strengthen national unity. The people who have been suffering injustice for years in Jammu and Kashmir due to Article 370 have got relief from this decision.
New sunrise of development in the state
The path of development has been open in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370, but now after the decision of the Supreme Court, a new sunrise of development is going to happen there. A target has been set to reach Kashmir Valley by train in the year 2024. The picture is changing due to the construction of roads, bridges and tunnels in Jammu and Kashmir. Delhi-Amritsar-Katra Expressway has been approved for the one crore devotees who come every year for the darshan of Mata Vaishno Devi. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is also going digital at a rapid pace and many schemes and services have become available on e-mode. The tourism industry is gaining new wings of development under which a record 1 crore 88 lakh 84 thousand 317 tourists came to the state from January 2022 to December 31, 2022. Srinagar’s Dal Lake has returned to its glory and shooting of films has also started once again. Industrial activities are now underway in the state due to which the problem of unemployment is also reducing. The whole world saw a new Kashmir through the G20 meeting held a few months ago.
Due to the careful and concrete strategy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, terrorism and separatism are gradually moving towards ending in the state. The incidents of stone pelting have almost ended in the state. In Kashmir, 112 people died due to stone pelting in 2010 whereas in 2023 there was not a single death due to stone pelting. Now it has become very clear that the poison of separatism which was growing in the state due to Article 370 has now been eradicated, but for the security of the state, the demography there will have to be in favor of India. After the abrogation of Article 370, a new dawn of development is going to dawn in the state in which all sections of the society will get justice.