“Most loyal to Modi government”: How Supreme Court faced ridicule for its judgment backing Indian government on abrogation of Article 370

The Supreme Court on Monday faced widespread ridicule for its judgment backing the Narendra Modi government on the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019. The overwhelming majority of netizens felt that the verdict of the constitution Bench was along the expected lines.
Supreme Court

The Indian government in 2019 had revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and downgraded its status from a state to a union territory. The state was also split into two union territories as Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The abrogation of Article 370 meant that Kashmiris would no longer be able to enjoy the special autonomy that they enjoyed before 2019.

The five-judge Bench of the Supreme Court upheld the government’s move but said that elections in Jammu and Kashmir should be held by September 2024. The court also said that the status of Jammu and Kashmir as a state should be restored as soon as possible. It decided not to give any deadline to the government.

Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said that the state of Jammu and Kashmir ‘does not have internal sovereignty different from other states.’

Justice SK Kaul said that a ‘truth and reconciliation commission’ should be set up to probe human rights violations by both ‘state and non-state actors’ since the 80s.

The revocation of Article 370 and the downgrading of Jammu and Kashmir nearly five years ago had thrown the region into utter chaos. Residents were forced to live in a prolonged period of lockdown with no access to internet services. The armed forces had come under scathing criticism for human rights violations.

While the politicians belonging to the BJP government in India welcomed the Supreme Court’s verdict, Kashmiri leaders expressed their disappointment. Netizens too reacted with sarcasm as they accused the Supreme Court of being loyal to the Modi government.

The favourable judgment by the Supreme Court comes just weeks before Modi will seek votes for a third time as the country’s prime minister.