The Supreme Court on Monday refused to decide on the validity of the 2019 law to bifurcate Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) into two Union Territories (UT)..Considering the Central government's stand that statehood will be restored to J&K, the Constitution Bench of of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai and Surya Kant found it unnecessary to determine whether the reorganisation of the erstwhile State into two UTs was permissible.The Court recorded Solicitor General (SG) of India Tushar Mehta's statement that J&K's status as a UT is temporary and that statehood will be restored to the region. Mehta had also told the Court that the status of Union Territory of Ladakh will not be affected by the restoration of statehood to J&K. "In view of the submission made by the Solicitor General that statehood of Jammu & Kashmir would be restored, we do not find it necessary to determine whether the reorganization of the State of Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir is permissible under Article 3 [of Constitution of India," the top court said.The observations were made in its judgment upholding the Central government's 2019 decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution which had conferred special status on the erstwhile State of J&K.The verdict came in a batch of petitions challenging the Central government's 2019 move to delete Article 370.The parliament subsequently passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act bifurcating the State into the two Union Territories - Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh..Along with the decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution, the validity of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which bifurcated the erstwhile state of J&K into two UTs, was also under challenge. While pronouncing the verdict, Justice Chandrachud in the unanimous judgment also declared that the status of Ladakh as a UT is upheld because Article 3 of the Constitution of India permits forming a UT by separation of a territory from any state.However, the Court left it open to decide whether the parliament can "extinguish" a region's statehood by converting a State into one or more Union Territories, and to consider its impact on the principles of federalism and representative democracy. "In an appropriate case, this Court must construe the scope of powers under Article 3 in light of the necessary effect of converting a state into union territories which is that autonomy would be diminished...," it said..The Court also considered the absence of an elected government in J&K and said the elections cannot be put on hold till restoration of statehood in the region.Thus, the Court directed the Election Commission of India to take steps to conduct elections to the legislative assembly of J&K by September 30, 2024."Restoration of the statehood shall take place at earliest and as soon as possible," the top court added.