Two distinct but concurring opinions were written by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D Y Chandrachud and Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul. The SC’s decisions on three significant petition issues are listed below.

One, on the ‘unique’ and ‘special status’ of Jammu and Kashmir.

The court held that despite the previous princely state’s ruler, Maharaja Hari Singh, declaring that he would hold onto his sovereignty, his successor, Karan Singh, declared that the Indian Constitution would take precedence over all other laws in the state.

The court decided that this had the same effect as a merger as every other princely state that joined India. In its ruling, the court declared unequivocally that Jammu and Kashmir has always been an essential component of India. In addition to Article 1 and 370 of the Indian Constitution, CJI Chandrachud cited Section 3 of the J&K Constitution.

“The State of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India,” states Article 3 of the J&K Constitution. Additionally, the state’s Constitution stated that this clause could not be changed.

According to Justice Kaul, having the only state constitution in the nation does not necessarily indicate a unique status. He explained, “The goal of Article 370 was to integrate the state with India, and the goal of the J&K Constitution was to ensure everyday governance in the state.”

Two, is Article 370 a ‘temporary’ or a permanent provision of the Constitution?

Using a textual approach, Chief Justice Chandrachud presented evidence of the historical background for the inclusion of Article 370 and its placement in Part XXI of the Constitution, which deals with temporary provisions. Additionally, he stated that the “temporary” provision had a function given the state’s 1947 state of warlike conditions.

Three, the questions relating to the effective abrogation of Article 370.

Aside from the more significant federal matters and the discussion surrounding the unique status of J&K, the primary legal challenge pertained to the two 2019 Presidential proclamations that effectively nullified Article 370..

The proclamation that reinterpreted the term “constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir” to refer to the “Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir” was upheld by the Court.

Whether the Union could assume state powers while the state was ruled by the President was the main point of contention. The Supreme Court in this case cited the seminal decision in “SR Bommai v Union of India” from 1994, which addressed the authority and constraints placed on the Governor during the President’s administration.

According to CJI DY Chandrachud, the Governor (or President in the case of J&K) can take on “all or any” of the duties of the state legislature, and only in extreme circumstances would such action need to be subject to judicial review.

The Supreme Court stated that there is “no prima facie case that the President’s orders were malafide or extraneous exercise of power,” based on its interpretation of the Bommai ruling.


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