Kashmir had only acceded and it was not merged into the Dominion of India, a counsel representing the Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association challenging the Centre's decision to revoke Article 370 told the Supreme Court on Wednesday.
A five-judge bench headed by Justice N.V. Ramana and comprising Justices S.K. Kaul, R. Subhash Reddy, B.R. Gavai and Surya Kant is hearing the pleas challenging the revocation of Article 370 which granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Appearing for the J&K Bar Association, senior advocate Zafar Ahmed Shah contended before the bench that the story of his state is different from others, and urged the court to examine the basis of Article 370 of the Constitution.
"The court must look at why this article was ever enforced," contended Shah.
He emphasised on three key aspects when a state accedes -- Instrument of Accession, Stand Still Agreement and the Merger Agreement. Jammu and Kashmir did not sign the Stand Still or the Merger agreement, and as a consequence it remained independent.
Shah insisted that a separate Constitution gave the state all the powers of governance, as there was never complete accession of the state, and the independent state never ceased to exist. "The whole Constitution cannot be made applicable to the region," he contended before the top court.
Shah told the court that the governance should continue to vest in the people of the region of J&K. "Council of ministers should agree (on the aspect of governance) and not Governor. Article 370 subsumes the sovereignty of the state. You have your Constitution and we have our Constitution. The merger was never done, but only accession was made," Shah submitted before the court.
He emphasised that both the Constitutions have been working hand in hand, and through Sub-clause (2) of Article 370, there would be no conflict between the Constitution of J&K and the Indian Constitution.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal and Solicitor General Tushar Mehta raised objection when Shah contended that the revocation of Article 370 was a constitutional fraud.
He added that all other state rulers had fully integrated into the Indian Dominion except Kashmir. The arguments on the matter will continue on Thursday.
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