New Delhi: A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court will hear a batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories even as the court declined the plea to refer the matter to a larger seven-judge bench.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana declined to refer the matter to a larger 7-judge bench noting that there was no conflict in the position taken by earlier two benches of the strength of five-judges each on the interpretation of Article 370 of the Constitution — now abrogated.
Veteran journalist Prem Shankar Jha, NGO People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association had urged the court that the matter be referred to 7-judge bench as two benches, each with a strength of five-judges, took a divergent view on Article 370.
The two cases in which Article 370 was touched are Prem Nath Kaul versus Jammu and Kashmir in 1959 and Sampat Prakash versus Jammu and Kashmir in 1970.
While the 1959 case related to the J&K Big Landed Estate (Abolition) Act, the main contention on which the law was challenged was that the Yuvaraj did not have the Constitutional aut-hority to promulgate the said Act.
The 1970 case also known as Sampat Prakash case was rooted in preventive detention — the detention of the petitioner under the J&K Preventive Detention Ac.
Besides Justice Ramana, the bench also comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Justice R. Subhash Reddy, Justice B.R. Gavai and Justice Surya Kant rejected the plea....