Tribune News Service
New Delhi, November 11
Ahead of the November 14 hearing on petitions challenging nullification of Article 370 of the Constitution, the Centre on Monday defended the move to end special status given to Jammu and Kashmir, saying militants and separatists supported by foreign forces inimical to India were taking its undue advantage.
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Centre also justified the abrogation of Article 35A of the Constitution which “enabled the then State to make laws giving special rights and privileges to permanent residents, while imposing restrictions upon others”.
The nullification of Article 370 provisions would act as a catalyst for enabling the State to achieve its development potential to the fullest, and to provide to its people the best possible standard of living in an “atmosphere of peace, amity and tranquillity”, it said.
Maintaining that the constitutional decisions were taken strictly in accordance with the requirements of the Constitution, the Centre said though constitutional courts have power of judicial review, the justification, efficacy, desirability and the wisdom of such decisions of the President as well as Parliament was not amenable to judicial review.
“It is submitted that the sphere of constitutional challenge is to be limited to Part III of the Constitution (Fundamental Rights) and the pleadings of the petitioners with regard to the rationality or the wisdom of impugned decision/legislative measures, are to be rejected by this court,” the affidavit read filed in response to petition against nullification of Article 370.
“The militants and separatist elements, with the support of foreign forces inimical to India, were taking advantage of the situation and sowing discord, discontent and even secessionist feelings among the populace of the State,” the affidavit said.
In its affidavit the Centre said it spent three times more on a resident of Jammu and Kashmir than the rest of India, but development eluded because of the discriminatory regime under Article 370 and Article 35A.
"During 2017-18, an average amount of Rs 8,227 per person was spent in rest of India, whereas Rs 27,358 per person was spent in Jammu and Kashmir.
"Despite this overwhelmingly disproportionate expenditure, it was observed the developmental benefits were not percolating to the citizens of the erstwhile state,” the affidavit read.
A five-judge Bench of Justice NV Ramana, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kual, Justice R Subhash Reddy, Justice BR Gavai and Justice Surya Kant will to take up petitions against nullification of Article 370 and Article 35A on Thursday.
Noting that Article 370, in its original form, was described as a temporary provision with respect to Jammu and Kashmir under the Constitution, the Centre said it was observed over the years that it was impeding, rather than facilitating, the full integration of the erstwhile state the rest of India.
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