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SC declines to refer pleas challenging abrogation of Article 370 to larger Bench

Press Trust of India New Delhi | Updated on March 02, 2020

The Supreme Court on Monday declined to refer to a larger seven-judge Bench a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Centre abrogating provisions of Article 370 on August 5 last year.

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice NV Ramana said there was no reason to refer the matter to a larger Bench.

NGO, People’s Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association and an intervenor had sought for referring the matter to a larger Bench on the ground that two judgments of the Apex court — Prem Nath Kaul versus Jammu and Kashmir in 1959 and Sampat Prakash versus Jammu and Kashmir in 1970 — which dealt with the issue of Article 370 conflicted each other and, therefore, the current Bench of five judges could not hear the issue.

Disagreeing with the petitioners, the Bench, also comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai and Surya Kant, said that “there is no conflict between the judgments” and rejected the plea.

The Apex court also did not agree with the contention that the judgment in the Prem Nath Kaul case was not considered by the top court in its verdict in the Sampat Prakash matter.

The petitioners had contended that as the decision in the Kaul case was not considered in the subsequent judgment, the latter verdict was per incuriam or wrongly decided.

After the order was pronounced, lawyers appearing in the matter requested the Bench to set a date for hearing the main matter. The Bench said the schedule of hearing on the batch of petitions challenging the validity of abrogation of provision of Article 370 would depend on the hearing by in the Sabarimala case, which is expected to start after the Holi break.

Published on March 02, 2020

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