Justice Katju's opinion on the hearing in the Supreme Court on the abrogation of Article 370

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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An irrelevant issue

By Justice Markandey Katju

For the last 5 days a 5 judge bench of the Indian Supreme Court has been hearing a bunch of 20 petitions challenging the validity of abrogation on 6th August 2019 of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which grants a special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir ( J&K ),

Various arguments have been advanced by lawyers in the case, and several observations have been made from the bench..

However, without going into the merits of the case, I submit that the issue is really irrelevant. Let me explain.

The test of every political activity or political system is one, and only one : does it raise the standard of living of the people ? Does it give them better lives ?

From that perspective it becomes clear that it is wholly irrelevant whether Article 370 is retained or abrogated, as in either case it will make no difference to the lives of the common people of J&K.

Restoration of Article 370 may benefit a few political families which have looted Kashmir for decades, and it may give some emotional consolation to others who may be aggrieved that the status of a state for J&K has been downgraded to a UT ( union territory ). But other than that, what difference does it make in the lives of the common people of J&K whether Article 370 is restored or not ?

Umemployment in Kashmir is at a staggering 18.3%

The economy is reeling

How will restoration of Article 370 resolve these massive problems ?

It is said that no elections have been held in J&K in the last 7 years. But how does that matter for the common man ? Past experience has shown that those elected were thoroughly corrupt. They amassed wealth, but did little for the people.

I submit that whatever be the outcome of the case, whether the abrogation of Article 370 is struck down by the Court or not, the difference will be that between tweedledum and tweedledee.


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