What Does SC's Decision On Article 370 Mean For Jammu and Kashmir?

A five-member bench of the Supreme Court led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud abolished Article 370, ruling that it was a temporary provision to ease Jammu and Kashmir's merger with India.

Tanya Savkoor
New Update
Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of India gave its verdict today on the Union Government's 2019 move to abolish Article 370, which granted autonomy (special status) to Jammu and Kashmir. The five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud had reserved its verdict on as many as 15 petitions on September 5 after 16 days of hearing, and today declared to quash Jammu and Kashmir's special status. The bench also comprised Justices S K Kaul, Sanjeev Khanna, B R Gavai and Surya Kant.


CJI Chandrachud noted that the reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir into Union Territories in 2019 was a temporary move. The bench called for a Legislative Assembly election in Jammu and Kashmir on September 30, 2024, to restore its Statehood "at the earliest and as soon as possible." 

Article 370 Was Meant To Be Temporary, Says SC

The Court noted that although Maharaja Hari Singh, the former ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, had proclaimed that he would retain his sovereignty, his successor Karan Singh issued another proclamation that the Indian Constitution would prevail over all other laws in the state.

The Supreme Court referred to the landmark 1994 ruling in ‘SR Bommai v Union of India’ which dealt with the powers and limitations of the Governor under President’s rule. The Supreme Court said that there is “no prima facie case that the President’s orders were mala fide (in bad faith) or extraneous exercise of power.”

Reading out his judgment, CJI Chandrachud said "Jammu and Kashmir did not retain any sovereignty after accession to India". While there are limitations to the President’s actions after the proclamation of President’s rule, in this case, they are valid," he said.

The 2019 revocation of Article 370, followed by the division of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State into two Union Territories-- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh was meant to be temporary, the bench held. "The purpose of Article 370 was to slowly bring J&K at par with other Indian states," the bench held.


"The J&K constituent assembly was not intended to be a permanent body. It was formed only to frame the Constitution. The recommendation of the Constituent Assembly was not binding on the President," said Chief Justice Chandrachud. The reorganisation of Ladakh into Union Territory is upheld. Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir are expected to be held next year.

'We The People Of Kashmir': Justice Kaul

Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, who is a Kashmiri Pandit, made an emotional appeal during his judgement. He started his statement by saying, "We the people of Jammu and Kashmir are at the heart of the debate," adding that the region has borne the brunt of turmoil for decades.

He made a striking observation about the deployment of the Army in Jammu and Kashmir. He stated, "Armies are meant to fight battles against enemies... not to control law and order in the state. The entry of the army created its own ground realities in the state... men women and children have paid a heavy price."

Truth And Reconciliation Commission

Justice S K Kaul recommended that a Truth and Reconciliation Commission should be set up in Jammu and Kashmir, for an acknowledgement of the acts of alleged violations done by the State and its actors in the region. The Commission is an apparatus that will help to not just acknowledge, but also reveal the wrongdoings by a government so that appropriate action can be taken.


The Commission has been impactful in countries like Nepal, Sri Lanka, Uganda, Kenya, South Africa, Australia, and Canada. The Commission has been imperative in bringing stories of minorities and aggrieved people to light from victims as well as witnesses.



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