Supreme Court on Monday said that there are no reasons to refer batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of abrogation of provisions of Article 370 to the larger 7-judge bench. The Bench said that there is no conflict of decisions between Prem Nath Kaul and Sampath Prakash. A five-judge constitution bench headed by Justice N V Ramana pronounced the order.
The apex court had on January 23 reserved its order on the issue of whether the batch of pleas would be referred to a larger seven-judge bench. On September 30, the Supreme Court had set-up a five-judge Constitution Bench.
The top court had on December 12 indicated that it may consider the question of referring the issue of challenge to the abrogation of provisions of Article 370, to a larger 7-judge bench after hearing the preliminary submission of all the parties. A number of petitions have been filed in the matter including that of private individuals, lawyers, activists, and political parties and they have also challenged the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019, which splits J&K into two union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
On November 21, the Centre had justified restrictions imposed in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of provisions of Article 370. The Centre had said that due to the preventive steps taken, neither a single life was lost nor a single bullet fired. The Centre had referred to terrorist violence in the Kashmir Valley and said that for the past so many years terrorists were being pushed through from across the border, local militants and separatist organisation had held the civilians captive in the region and it would have been "foolish" if the government would not have taken preventive steps to secure the lives of citizens.
Restrictions have been put on communication links since August 5. These were subsequently eased. The internet is functional at a few places through leased lines. Mobile internet facility has been made functional but with a speed of 2G with special instructions that it would not be used to access social media sites. However, internet services were shut down as a preventive measure earlier this month on the death anniversaries of Afzal Guru and Maqbool Bhat, and when rumours around Hurriyat leader Syed Geelani's health started doing the rounds on social media.