Verdict on Article 370: Anticipated Shift in Kashmir as Public Outrage Gains Prominence

Verdict on Article 370: Anticipated Shift in Kashmir as Public Outrage Gains Prominence

With the Supreme Court (SC) upholding the revocation of Article 370, the curtain is drawn on the political era that shaped the lived experience of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) for over 70 years.

However, the lingering question remains: will this decision also mold the region according to the preferences of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)?

Throughout the week, the residents of Kashmir remained unperturbed by the prospect of the apex court delivering its verdict. There was a sense of certainty regarding the outcome, and optimism was in short supply.

The Court asserted, “Every decision taken by the Union on behalf of the State during Presidential rule is not open to challenge…this will lead the administration of the State to a standstill.”

Furthermore, it clarified, “We do not find the use of Presidential power to issue [Constitution Order] 273 male-fide. Thus, we hold the exercise of Presidential Power to be valid,” and emphasized, “Article 370 is a temporary power.”


The removal of Article 370 was a contentious affair for several reasons. Unlike other regions, J&K witnessed the emergence of democratic power structures before Partition, confronting not the British Empire but the Hindu Dogra monarchy. The political mobilizations of 1931 resulted in the creation of a 75-seat legislature, a free press, freedom of assembly, and political parties.

The hard-won victories and the political individualism they embodied were what Kashmiri Muslims sought to preserve during the Partition. The accession with India was a leap of faith, and to address the trust deficit, Indian leaders agreed to safeguard the region’s political autonomy in the Constitution.

Given this context, the first post-Partition political dispute between J&K and the Union centered precisely on this issue. Sheikh Abdullah opposed the Union government’s attempt to expand the jurisdiction of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) over J&K in the early 1950s, interpreting it as an effort to weaken Article 370. This led to protests and, in 1953, Abdullah’s deposition and arrest.

Since then, Article 370 has seen a significant erosion. The August 2019 move was a final blow to choreograph a political stratagem aimed at depriving the region of its political foundation. Over the last four years, controversial decisions have unsettled the people of Kashmir, generating significant resentment.

Despite this, the people were aware that these measures required final approval. Now that the Supreme Court has endorsed the 2019 decision, it is likely that the simmering anger over these matters will gain new prominence in the public imagination.

In this sense, the apex court’s decision is expected to heighten, rather than alleviate, the feelings of what the government labels as secessionism. The Court’s justification of other states having constitutional privileges while legitimizing the removal of similar privileges from J&K may prompt questions about whether J&K was denied autonomous status due to its Muslim-majority composition.

During the August hearing of the Article 370 case, the Chief Justice made an interesting remark, stating, “Any amendment of 370 would be subject to criticism on the ground of morality, but not power.” This indicates that the judges recognized the moral challenges of the move. The fact that most Kashmiris accurately predicted the SC’s decision underscores the extent of political estrangement in the region.

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