During the Day 11 hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 in the context of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud highlighted the impact of Article 35A on the fundamental rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The remarks were made in response to arguments put forth by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who was defending the abrogation of Article 370.
Chief Justice Chandrachud noted that while the 1954 order applied Part 3 of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir, Article 35A introduced exceptions that took away certain fundamental rights. He emphasized that Article 35A created exceptions in areas such as employment under the state government, acquisition of immovable properties, and settlement in the state. By doing so, Article 35A virtually took away fundamental rights guaranteed by Article 16(1), Article 19(1)(f), Article 31, and the right to settle in the state under Article 19(1)(a).
Solicitor General Mehta argued that the abrogation of Article 370 had positive effects on the progress and development of Jammu and Kashmir. He highlighted that removing Article 35A brought the people of Jammu and Kashmir at par with other citizens of the country. He mentioned the increase in investments and tourism, leading to employment generation in the region.
Mehta also justified the abrogation by stating that it was a well-considered administrative decision, taking into account factors like sovereignty and national security issues. He explained that the abrogation was not a hasty decision but was made with careful consideration.
The hearing also discussed other aspects related to the abrogation, such as the conversion of Ladakh into a Union Territory and the application of Article 356 (President’s rule) beyond the maximum tenure of three years. The hearing remained inconclusive and was set to continue on the following day.