SC refuses to refer petitions on Article 370 to a court of 7 judges
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to refer to a bank of seven judges a lot of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the changes in scrapping a special status for Jammu and said the issue would continue to be heard by the five judges . Bank.
A five-judge bank of judges N V Ramana, Sanjay Kishan Kaul, B R Gavai and Surya Kant, which was created to decide the issue, said there was no reason to refer it to a larger bank. He found no merit in the plea of some of the petitioners, who alleged that there was a contradiction in the verdicts of two SC banks of five judges on the scope of Article 370 while seeking reference of the case to a larger bank. The petitioners argued that two SC sentences - Prem Nath Kaul against J&K in 1959 and against J&K in 1970 - on the subject were in conflict and, therefore, a larger bank should hear the case. But the court agreed with the Center's statement and the J&K administration that there was no inconsistency between the decisions.
Article 370: No inconsistency in two earlier rulings, says SC
The SC agreed with the Center's statement and the J&K administration that there was no inconsistency between the decisions of the main court in the Prem Nath Kaul and Sampat Prakash cases.
The petitioners contended that as decision in the Kaul case was not considered in the subsequent judgement, the latter verdict was wrongly decided. After examining the two verdicts, the bench said facts and context were different in those judgments and observations made in a judgment cannot be selectively picked in order to give them a particular meaning. The bench said the SC in the “Prem Nath Kaul case indicated that the Constituent Assembly’s decision under Article 370(2) was final. This finality has to be read as being limited to those decisions taken by the state government under Article 370 prior to the convening of the Constituent Assembly of the state, in line with the language of Article 370(2)”.
“The Constitution bench in the Prem Nath Kaul case did not discuss the continuation or cessation of the operation of Article 370 of the Constitution after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly of the state. This was not an issue in question before the court, unlike in the Sampat Prakash case where the contention was specifically made before, and refuted by, the court. This court sees no reason to read into the Prem Nath Kaul case an interpretation, which results in it being in conflict with subsequent judgments of this court, particularly when an ordinary reading of the judgment does not result in such an interpretation,” the bench said.