A Constitution bench of the Supreme Court of India is hearing a batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution which conferred special status on the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir.The bench comprises Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, and Surya Kant.Over 20 petitions are pending before the Supreme Court challenging the Central government's 2019 decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution, which resulted in the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status. The erstwhile State was subsequently bifurcated into two Union Territories.When the matters were listed in March 2020, a five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court had decided not to refer the batch of petitions to a seven-judge Constitution Bench, despite some petitioners seeking such a reference.On August 2, the top court began final hearings in the matter with a question to the petitioners about whether the Constitution makers and Article 370 itself envisaged the provision as a permanent or temporary one.The Court sought to know whether the Article was envisaged as a permanent provision merely because the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), which was empowered to recommend the deletion of the provision, ceased to exist in 1957.On August 4, the top court asked whether the Article would become part of the basic structure of the Constitution if it is accepted that Article 370 of the Constitution became permanent when the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir was dissolved in 1957.During the hearing of the matter on August 9, the Court said that in a Constitutional democracy like India, the opinion of people on public issues is sought through established institutions and not referendums as in the case of Brexit in the United Kingdom.The top court, on August 10, remarked that in no way was the integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India in 1948 conditional. The integration was absolute and complete in every which way, remarked CJI Chandrachud.Yesterday, Supreme Court orally observed that, the regime to be followed once Jammu & Kashmir's Constituent Assembly ceased to exist, is not clear.Live updates from today's hearing feature here..Attorney General R Venkataramani will today commence his arguments on behalf of the Union government, defending the abrogation of Article 370..Hearing begins..AG R Venkataramani: There is a small internal arrangement between us.. a lot of documents need to be read through. I am placing certain documents in the context of the historical narrative. There is a summary of my written submissions.AG R Venkataramani: It is often the case that a limb is amputated to save a life but life is not given to save a limb. We wanted to ensure that the constitution is preserved with regard to processes and due process and losing nation on the other hand. CJI DY Chandrachud: We cannot postulate a scenario where ends justify the means. The means have to be consistent with the ends.AG: No deviation has taken place with regard to this presidential proclamation. To say that a fraud has been committed on the constitution is incorrect.SG Tushar Mehta: This is a historical case in more than one ways. This court will be considering first time in 75 years with the case of the privileges that were denied to J&K People and how Article 370 was acting in detriment of Central government schemes etc reaching the valley. There was a psychological duality prevailing in the region which has ended with this abrogation. .SG Tushar Mehta: Large number of fundamental rights and other rights will now be conferred upon the residents of Jammu and Kashmir and they will be at par with other brothers and sisters of the country.Because of the ongoing confusion on whether Article 370 is temporary or not, there was psychological duality in the minds of residents of Jammu and Kashmir and this was taken away from the interests not inimical to India..SG Tushar Mehta: This court has not been apprised with a lot of things. Please see the common compilation. I will show you the things which this bench has not seen. The moment the accession is complete, the sovereignty is lost and the sovereignty is subsumed by the bigger sovereign.CJI: What is the importance of accession. Pease read section 5 of the 1935 Act. This is important. Consequence of accession was to be united in the federation.SG: That is the first step of losing sovereignty. CJI: But they have agued that sovereignty has internal and external aspect and that external aspect was lost but not the internal aspect SG: We are conscious, we will address it.SG: I am arguing that the concept that jammu and kashmir had a special status from the beginning is a wrong one. Eminent counsel from those days were involved in helping the princely states to draft their own Constitution. The draft accession agreement was same for all the States and this accession document was the same for all those who acceded..SG: All these states which became part of India and signed the instrument of accession had some different wording like taxes will be with the state etc changed overtime and became one federal unit. These States voluntarily joined in the process of constitution making. Pandit Nehru had made it clear that we will not accept the divine right of kings..SG: One segment of India cannot be deprived the rights which are enjoyed by others..SG Mehta takes the court through the list of dates: Every princely state were allowed to put their own terms and conditions in the instruments of accession with article 1 CJI: This was to give a sense of confidence to these princely states so that they can keep some subjects to themselves or adopt the one with the federal legislature. The intention was to have the States accede to India Please show us if there was a draft of the instrument of accession and who prepared it..SG: The provision which was meant to be temporary has continued to operate for over 75 years.. Jinnah had called Pt Nehru to Pakistan to discuss the Kashmir Problem. Lord Mountbatten, Nehru and Sardar Vallabhai Patel was called to Birla house to meet Gandhiji as Sardar Patel was against going to meet the aggressor and Lord Mountbatten was inclined. Later it was revealed that since Nehru was running high fever, he cannot go and thus only Mountbatten was to go. Kapil Sibal: Sometimes running high fever is also an act of diplomacy SG: Of course it was in this case..CJI: For J&K, the constitution decided to go for 370.. but for other states there was no such provision and they merged. They accepted all the lists and acceded to the union completely.SG: The argument that this Article 370 is a privilege which cannot be taken away is wrong. There was many such privileges given to other States also.CJI: They joined by their own volition but J&K ducked that rule and acceded by Article 370. So you are saying instrument of accession of various princely states have various such reservations and conditions and consistent with section 6 of Government of India Act and adopted by section 9 of the Indian Independence Act.SG: Many states did not sign instrument of merger..Department of states which existed in MHA after 1950. It was abolished after 1956. But you must have records still in the MHA.SG: I am informed that the Department of States still continues CJI: If we can have a list of states, their instruments of accession, supplementary instrument of accession and merger agreement. I don't know if record is there. How many out of the 562 states actually did not execute merger agreements? Then we can say that execution of merger agreement was not quintessential to acceptance of final sovereignty of India..CJI: SG, your argument is two-fold - expression of reservation in Instrument of accession was not unique to the one signed by Maharaja Hari Singh and the next is signing of merger agreement was not sine qua non to the acceptance of final sovereignty of India..SG: Sardar Vallabhai Patel had said that future would depend on the strength of the Central government.CJI: They said that while petitioners gave up external sovereignty they did not give up the internal sovereignty. Thus they have relied on Indira Gandhi vs Raj Narain case etc.SG: I will come to that..SG: Constituent assembly of J&K was not a plenary document and it was nothing more than a legislation. There cannot be two constitutions.CJI: We are not engaging in a dialogue on any of this now. You can complete the list of dates. We assume you will argue each of this point later on. .Bench rises for the day. Hearing to resume on August 28 (Monday).