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The Centre informed the Supreme Court on Monday that the Home Minister had assured Parliament that Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood would be restored. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre and JK administration, conveyed the Home Minister’s statement to a five-judge Supreme Court bench led by CJI D Y Chandrachud. The bench is currently hearing petitions challenging the changes made to Article 370 of the Constitution by Parliament in 2019.

Mehta explained that the reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir into a Union Territory is a temporary measure and will ultimately lead to it becoming a state. The Supreme Court, during the 11th day of hearings, noted that the now-defunct Article 35A of the Constitution had removed three fundamental rights and the power of judicial review. Mehta pointed out that the creation of a separate category of permanent residents had led to the exclusion of people from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and sanitation workers from other states from receiving special privileges and benefits in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Supreme Court also discussed the impact of Article 35A, which created exceptions to fundamental rights regarding employment, property acquisition, and settlement in the state. Mehta argued that the government’s actions in 2019 were a correction of past mistakes and aimed to bring Jammu and Kashmir in line with the rest of the country.

Mehta emphasized that the changes have resulted in increased investments and tourism in Jammu and Kashmir. He also highlighted the alteration in the oath taken by judges of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, from expressing allegiance to the Constitution of the state to the Constitution of India.

Regarding the reorganization of the state, Mehta explained that Parliament’s power during a Presidential proclamation under Article 356 supersedes the proviso to Article 3. He assured the court that the actions taken by Parliament do not undermine federalism.

Mehta concluded by stating that the government’s actions were aimed at rectifying past mistakes and bringing Jammu and Kashmir in line with the rest of the country.

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