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Article 370—Advocate Zaffar Shah’s 5 Razor-Sharp Arguments in India’s Apex Court

August 10, 2023

A Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court continue hearing on 10 August

New Delhi, 10 August: Senior Advocate Zaffar Shah on Thursday presented his incisive arguments in defence of Article 370 and Article 35 (a) before a constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India.

A host of petitions have been filed in India’s Apex court, challenging the validity and authority of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government’s decision to scrap the provisions of Article 370 on 5 August 2019 unilaterally without the concurrence from the erstwhile Constituent Assembly or Jammu and Kashmir’s State Legislature.

A bench comprising Chief Justice of India D. Y. Chandrachud, Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice B. R. Gavai, Justice Surya Kant and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul are hearing the matter. For the first three days, senior advocate Kapil Sibal presented his arguments. On August 8, another senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam completed his arguments. From August 9, senior advocate Zaffar Shah is making his case in the Supreme Court of India.

Advocate Shah’s Main Arguments:

1. Constitutional autonomy is a guaranteed right for Jammu and Kashmir.

2. Presidential Orders of 1950 and 1954 made a solemn promise that no legislation that intends to revise the boundaries of J&K can be passed without the concurrence of the J&K government. On 5 August 2019, J&K was not only stripped of its special status, but the region also lost its residual autonomy and was split into two separate union territories without the concurrence of the J&K government.

3. We want to go back to the status that existed on 4 August 2019. Even with many things gone, J&K still continued some constitutional autonomy and had the power to make its own laws.

4. J&K had the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC).

5. Article 35 (a) granted powers to the J&K Legislature to define who the permanent residents of the region were and then accord them certain rights such as land ownership, education, employment and scholarship.

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