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.The top court, on August 10, remarked that the integration of Jammu and Kashmir with India in 1948 was not conditional. The integration was absolute and complete in every which way, remarked CJI Chandrachud.On August 24, the Central government began its arguments in Supreme Court defending its 2019 move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution.Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta, who represented the Central government, invoked Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and stated that the first Prime Minister had said that India would not recognize rulers of princely States who joined India as having any 'divine' rights.On August 28, the Supreme Court orally observed that Article 35A of the Constitution, which was repealed in 2019, effectively conferred special rights on the people of Jammu and Kashmir and, in the process, curtailed certain fundamental rights of persons domiciled in the rest of India.During the last hearing on August 29, the apex court orally remarked that various parts of the country have been plagued by militancy and separatism including Punjab and north-eastern States and Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) cannot be singled out in that respect.Live Updates from today's hearing here. .Hearing begins..CJI DY Chandrachud: My brother Justice BR Gavai has conjunctivitis and that is why he is working from home. I have taken his permission to divulge this to him. He said he will not take a holiday Also, the mobile connectivity in the additional building complex will now be resolved as we have installed boosters. There was a phishing attack on our website. Please be careful and do not click or use it for monetary transactions. .Senior Advocate Kapil Sibal: If the Prof Bhat suspension matter can be looked into. CJI: Yes. Attorney what happened?SG Mehta: We will take instructions..SG Mehta: I would like to make a statement. Central government is ready for elections in any time now. Till now updating of voters list was going on and is substantially done. First election will be of panchayat elections, District development elections has already taken place. Leh elections are over. Kargil elections are at the end of the next month.Terrorist instances have reduced by 45.2% compared from 2018 to 2023. Infiltration reduced by 90%. Law and order issues like stone pelting etc reduced by 97%. Security persons casualty is reduced by 65%. Stone pelting instances in 2018 was 1767 cases. It is nil now. Youth has been gainfully employed now and earlier they were misled by secessionist forces. Organised bandhs etc in 2018 there were 52 and now it is nil.SG Mehta: UT is a temporary phenomenon. You can see what developments are taking place for it to become a complete State. For the purpose of making UT a complete state, the investment proposals from other than central scheme is ₹78,000 crore and till now actual investment has been ₹2,153 crores. Several e-initiatives has also been taken place. .SG: I am unable to give an exact time period for the conversion to full statehood but union territory is only a temporary phenomenon. Only in January 2022, 1.8 crore tourists visited and in 2023, 1 crore tourists have been there. These are the steps which are being taken by the centre. Centre can only take these steps till it is a UT. Centre is ready for elections but the State and Election Commission has to decide when to hold it and which level of elections that is Panchayat, district, etc is to be held first..Kapil Sibal: If you have 5,000 people in house arrest and with section 144 imposed there cannot be any bandh.. so let us not get into this. Otherwise we have to counter all of this CJI: What he is saying that roadmap to full statehood will take some time.. UT is not a permanent feature and there cannot be a timeline. But these are the steps they are taking. But we know these facts cannot be an answer to the constitutional question. Sibal: The drugs issue which is plaguing J&K is enormous and there is enormous rate of unemployment in the UT..Sibal: Problem is this is being televised and all of this is on record. They make it like, 'look what all government is doing'.SG: Development is never a problem. CJI: The constitutional issue will be dealt only with the constitutional angle and not on the basis of the policy decisions.SG: My friend says some are under house arrest and that is why no bandh. So correct people are under the house arrest.Sibal: 5,000 were under house arrest let us not make a mockery of democracy. Section 144 was imposed and internet was shut off. This court has recognised all of this as well. People could not even go to hospitals. Let us not talk about bandhs etc..AG: President was to follow a process which is close to a non legislative function of the constituent assembly and that is where substitution of legislative assembly comes. The sequence has to be seen when president is taking the call looking at what J&K has suffered and what have been the complications so far. When doctrine of impossibility stares one at their face, they are not paralysed to take action..AG: This is not about ends justifying the means. It's about taking stock of very complex situations. Do we have a mathematical formula of doing it? Or do we only measure it by saying that there are constitutional mandates- if you disobey them you cannot do anything regarding Article 370 and in that case how do we have a mathematical formula saying this is how you will do it in the context of internal disturbance, or this is how you will do it in the context of external aggression? There may be some broad standards where fundamental values aren't breached but if there is something that you have to negotiate, even with the breach of fundamental values what do we do and how do we answer if it is a political question or a judicial question in this case before us. .AG: When there are submissions of substituting the Constituent Assembly by Legislative Assembly, we are looking at the non legislative functions of the legislature. For assuming also if the the Constituent Assembly had recommended to the President before 1957, President would have acted in this fashion only. The determination of Article 370 must occur at some time, notwithstanding what happened in history and if that determination is in more than one way, then the assumption in larger interest has to be taken. President is not excluded from taking stock and that is inherently present in Article 370 and thus it will be open for the president to take stock of all actions under 370 and the issues that loom large over the nation.Senior Advocate Harish Salve: It has been submitted that president could act only when there is a recommendation by the constituent assembly. If there is a constituent assembly then you cannot act in vacuum. We have to discern legislative intent from the language. Is the president to act only to give effect to desire of constituent assembly or get a recommendation from it. Obviously, only a recommendation if the constituent assembly exists..Salve: While distribution in the fields of legislation was put as concurrence of the govt of the state at the same time sub clause 3 uses the term recommendation. CJI: There is one counter. When a change in distribution of legislative power was concerned, concurrence was needed. The provisions spoke of concurrence, except in the area covered by the Instrument of accession. The exercise of the power under Art 370(3) brings complete abrogation of 370. .Salve: History of the provision tells us that it will be difficult to find logic in this provision because much of it was political compromise. Why was constituent assembly even there. Just to assuage some ruffled feathers. One cannot search too much logic. As a matter of constitutional interpretation of such political provisions, this court must give it the widest meaning possible..Salve: Please look at one important nuance of this article. In sub clause (d) such of the other provisions of the constitution shall apply. This does not require concurrence. If you see 370(1)(b), it requires consultation, this dichotomy was built in.CJI: Instrument of accession requires consultation, other than those governed by instrument of accession requires concurrence. Salve: When it comes to the instrument of accession, the last word stays with the Union. Why is dichotomy in the first and second proviso is something lordship has to reflect over..CJI: What 370(1)(b) says that power of parliament to make laws will be specific and thus matters specified in instrument of accession consultation is required and for the ones not in the instrument of accession concurrence was needed. Salve: One cannot miss the significance of overlay of international law engrafted in 363 and that matters in instrument of accession is a subject matter of the sovereign..Salve: There is the underpinning of political compromise in kashmir. They reserved the power in the president to disapply the provision in total. This is a unique provision.CJI: Where the power to do something lesser in terms of constitutional impact is hedged in with restrictions namely the power to make exceptions and modifications, can we subsume that the power to do something greater which has a greater constitutional impact namely the abrogation itself will be bereft of all limitations? Salve: My response is that there is a compromise and that the accession is complete. It is part of India and it is an Indian state. Now there is a political compromise and sub article 3 is to put an end to the political compromise. CJI: Please find out which matter are there in the instrument of accession which relates to clause b(1). .Salve: If you see the instrument of accession...CJI: One thing is clear that if the president wanted to make any exception or modification concerning defence, security and foreign affairs then only consultation was required.Salve: Jurisdiction of this court under article 32, should it extend or not extend to J&K? All such provisions have to applied with adaptation. Sub- article 3 is the answer of how it resulted in complete accession. Reserving the right to the president the power to disapply this article and for this there cannot be concurrence.Salve: Repeated reference to basic structure is surprising. Constitutional amendments are tested with reference to basic structure doctrine and it is there in the limitations of Article 368. A law cannot be held to be violative of basic structure. It is only constitutional amendments. When a law is made to protect civil liberties is aligned with Article 21 and it is aligned with basic structure. In a spin of language it can be said in furtherance of basic structure. .Salve: Can change of permanence be made when article 356 regime is in place and when president rule is ongoing? It has two answers. This is no longer res integra. Everything in one sense is irreversible.. what parliament does is also irreversible..Sr Adv Rakesh Dwivedi: There is a presumption of validity in favour of the law and it has to be rebutted by them that the only interpretation possible is the one that the petitioners are arguing. If two views are possible, then the one which sustains the exercise of power has to be preferred.There have been judgments which held that power under Article 368 were constituent. Ultimately article 368...what your lordships deal with today is the constituent power which is laced deeply with elements of acts of State..CJI: Modifications can only take place within the Indian constitution and it cannot happen with J&K constitution.Dwivedi: When article 370 was being passed it was said do not debate this much since it will be used by the warring States.CJI: The continued existence of state is integral to federalism in India..CJI: You are saying exercise of power under 370(3) is a constituent power by the President. Dwivedi: That is how the power of judicial review has to be used. Justice Khanna: Can mandatory power under Article 368 be taken to the level of constituent power? Dwivedi: President recommending finance bills to be passed is different.. president of India has a host of roles under the Indian constitution and not all roles are same. Framers of Constitution of India also knew that president of India is a continuing office..Dwivedi: Article 370 had reached the time when it had to be buried and now it has been done so and thus the presidential orders needs to be upheld. Even if the Constituent Assembly recommends deletion of part 3 for Jammu and Kashmir, is the President bound to follow it? As a constituent body, the President has the right to say a no..Bench rises. Hearing to resume tomorrow.