No larger Bench for 35 A, 370 petitions

By Sant Kumar Sharma

The writ petitions pertaining to Article 370 will not be heard by a larger Bench. In other words, the five-judge Bench, which was dealing with the case, will continue to hear tthem
A five-judge Bench hearing the cases gave this interim order in Writ Petition (Civil) No. 1099 of 2019 titled Dr Shah Faesal & others versus Union of India (and another). The Bench is hearing around 20 petitions pertaining to Article 35 A and 370.
It said: 47. In light of the aforesaid discussion, we do not see any reason to refer these petitions to a larger Bench on the questions considered.
The Bench comprises five judges, namely, N V Raman, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Subah Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant. It will continue to hear all the cases pertaining to 35A and 370 now.
The bunch of petitions before the Bench are those filed in the year 2019 (last year) seeking a revocation of the Central government orders initiated on August 5. After it revoked the controversial Article 35 A which was allegedly gender discriminatory. It was the article which drew a distinction between Permanent Residents (earlier called State Subjects) and Non Permanent Residents living in the then state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The petitions filed earlier challenged Article 35 A as also Article 370. These petitions had sought scrapping of these articles of the Constitution of India. One of the first petitions challenging these provisions was filed in August 2014, over five years ago.
Several other petitions challenging the constitutionality of these articles were filed over the next few years. The Supreme Court had held some headings in these cases over five years.
The court has, however, not heard these petitions for a long time. Arguments for, and against, Article 35 A and 370 had been made in the court, but it had lingered on all these years till August 5, 2019.
It had been almost five years when the Central government, in a very sudden move, scrapped these articles. Not only this, it also downgraded the state of Jammu and Kashmir to the level of a Union Territory (UT).