NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court in India is set to deliver its verdict Monday (December 11) on a batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution which granted special status to the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).
The five-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud heard the matter for 16 days and reserved its verdict on September 5.
Over 20 petitions filed by senior lawyers allege that the Indian government misused its majority in parliament to issue executive orders and divide the occupied region into Union Territories, Mint reported.
The Indian Supreme Court, in 2020, refused to transfer the case to a seven-judge Constitution Bench, and the five-judge bench kept the matter to itself.
The Indian government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi abolished the autonomous status of the occupied valley and deployed tens of thousands of additional troops to head off any protests against the unilateral move.
By repealing Article 370 of the constitution, people from the rest of India were given the right to acquire property in the disputed territory and settle there permanently.
Kashmiris see the move as an attempt to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers.
Pakistan had strongly condemned the move and vowed to “exercise all possible options to counter the illegal steps” taken by India.
India has for decades stationed more than
half a million soldiers in the Himalayan disputed territory. The suspension of IIOJK’s semi-autonomous status allowed Indians from elsewhere to buy land and claim government jobs there, a policy denounced by critics as “settler colonialism”.
Many residents and critics say that authorities have since curbed media freedoms and public protests in a drastic curtailment of civil liberties. Modi’s government has defended the decision in the court, saying the change had brought “peace, progress and prosperity” to the restive territory. Consolidating New Delhi’s rule over the IIOJK has long been a key plank of Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
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