Article 370: Congress disagrees with SC verdict, demands immediate J&K polls

“Democracy, and not autocracy, is the demand of every citizen of Jammu and Kashmir", said Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi

Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi (Photo: IANS)
Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi (Photo: IANS)

NH Political Bureau

The Congress on Monday demanded immediate restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and said assembly elections should also be held immediately to enable people to elect a government of their choice. The party also said it disagreed with the Supreme Court judgment.

Holding a press conference, Congress leaders P Chidambaram and Abhishek Singhvi said the judgement of the Supreme Court in the cases concerning the abrogation of Article 370 has decided many issues, but has left out a few.

The judgement needs a careful study, said Chidambaram, noting “prima facie we respectfully disagree with judgment on the manner in which Art 370 was abrogated”. He said the Congress has always demanded restoration of full statehood of J&K and “we welcome the SC verdict in this regard”.

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, in concurring judgements on Monday upheld the validity of the Union government’s August 2019 Constitutional Order that abrogated Article 370, which gave special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The bench — led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and including justices SK Kaul, Sanjeev Khanna, BR Gavai and Surya Kant — had reserved its verdict on 5 September on as many as 23 petitions challenging the Presidential Orders of 2019 repealing the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, after hearing the matter for 16 days.

The Supreme Court also directed that Jammu & Kashmir’s statehood should be restored and elections be held by September 2024. Article 370 was a temporary condition, stated the bench. "We are also disappointed that SC did not decide the question of dismembering the state and reducing its status to two Union Territories. That question is being reserved for adjudication in a suitable case in future," remarked Singhvi.

"Full statehood must be restored immediately. The aspirations of the people of Ladakh must also be fulfilled. We welcome the SC direction to hold assembly elections. However, we believe elections should be held immediately and there is no reason to wait until 30 September 2024," the senior Congress leader said.

“When elections are held, the people of J&K will have the opportunity to express their views on the crucial questions that we debated in the SC. They have been denied that opportunity so far," he added.

Singhvi questioned why the BJP was afraid of an elected government in J&K. “Democracy, and not autocracy, is the demand of every citizen of Jammu and Kashmir. Why is the BJP afraid of an elected government?” Singhvi asked.

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