India’s Supreme Court will pronounce its verdict on a set of pleas against New Delhi’s 2019 imposition of direct rule in occupied Kashmir on Dec 11, The Times of India reported on Friday.

In 2019, India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had revoked occupied Kashmir’s special status in a controversial move by repealing Article 370 of the Constitution.

A five-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, had begun hearing the set of petitions on July 11 and reserved its verdict on Sept 5.

According to India Today, the petitioners incl­uded leaders of the National Conference and People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

During the proceedings, the PDP had told the court that then-governor Satya Pal Malik was not consulted before the decision was taken by the central government to abrogate Article 370, India Today stated.

Meanwhile, the centre had argued in support of its step and claimed there was no “constitutional fraud” in annulling the provision, the report added.

Senior counsel Kapil Sibal contended that the concurrence of the state government provided by the governor did not express the will of the people.

The apex court had asked the BJP-ruled central government whether there was a timeline to convert Indian-held Kashmir from a union territory to a state.

The suspension of occupied Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status allowed Indians from elsewhere to buy land and claim government jobs there, a policy denounced by critics as “settler colonialism”.

Published in Dawn, December 9th, 2023

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