The Central Government argued that Jammu and Kashmir’s status as a Union Territory is only temporary and that its statehood will be restored, whereas Ladakh will remain a Union Territory. [In reference to Constitutional Article 370]
A Constitution Bench consisting of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, and Surya Kant requested an official statement from the Central government outlining the roadmap and timeline for restoring the statehood of Jammu & Kashmir.
“We require a statement from the federal government indicating if there is a timetable in mind for this matter. Our nation’s survival depends on the restoration of democracy. CJI Chandrachud pleaded, “Please outline the next steps in this process.”
Tushar Mehta, the Solicitor General, told the court that a positive statement would be issued shortly.
“I have received instructions stating that the UT is not a permanent feature, and I will make a positive statement the day after tomorrow. Ladakh would continue to be a UT, but here we are only discussing Jammu and Kashmir, he said.
During the hearing for the Article 370 case, the argument was presented.
Today, CJI Chandrachud questioned whether the legislature had the authority to convert a state into a union territory.
In response to the SG’s mention of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, the CJI inquired as to whether the region’s status as a Union Territory was irrevocable.
“Not at all, sir. Even on the floor of the House, the query was asked,” the SG responded.
SG Mehta added that he would ultimately demonstrate how the Central government intends to restore statehood and conduct elections.
Justice Kaul then inquired hypothetically whether a portion of Assam could also be carved out and declared a union territory.
The SG responded that this illustration was excessively extreme. Article 3 prohibits the transformation of states into union territories, as a separation is required, he added.
The CJI then used Chandigarh’s formation as an illustration.
“Regarding the establishment of union territories after independence, consider Chandigarh, which was carved out to become a Union Territory to administer the two sister states in accordance with the Punjab Reorganisation Act. Therefore, you create them as Union Territories for the time being, and then transform them into states when the situation stabilises. To bring about stability, why can’t the Union have control for a specified period? Whether it is a state or the United States of America, if we all survive, the nation survives. Then, he pondered, shouldn’t we grant Parliament such latitude that, for a period of time, a state is transformed into a UT, and then, after a period of time, it reverts back to a state?
However, the CJI added that it was essential for the Central government to elucidate when statehood would be reinstated and elections would be held in Jammu and Kashmir.
Today is the thirteenth day of the hearing for the petitions challenging the August 2019 decision by the Central government to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s (J&K) special status. Two Union Territories were created from the former state.