The Central government on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it cannot provide an exact timeline for the conversion of the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) into a State..However, the region continuing to be a UT is only a temporary phenomenon, the Centre's second top law officer Solicitor General (SG) Tushar Mehta told a Constitution Bench of Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, and Surya Kant..SG Mehta further said that that the Central government is prepared for elections but the timing of these elections and whether they should commence at the panchayat or district level, would be determined by the J&K administration and the Election Commission of India.."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 Union election commission has to decide when to hold it and which level of elections that is panchayat, district, etc is to be held first," Mehta stated..[Watch the video of the hearing].The Court was hearing the challenge to the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.On August 29, the Central government had stated that Jammu & Kashmir is a Union Territory only as a temporary measure and that its statehood would be restored, although Ladakh would remain a Union Territory. The Court had asked the Central government for an official statement to indicate the roadmap and timeframe for restoring the statehood of Jammu & Kashmir."We need a statement from the Central government on this, that if there is a time frame in view? The restoration of democracy is a vital component of our nation. Please tell us what is the roadmap for this," CJI Chandrachud had said.Pursuant to the same, the SG today made submissions after taking instructions from the government. The hearing is progressing before the Constitution Bench.Read live updates from hearing here.