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The Supreme Court today began hearing a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of the Centre’s decision to scrap the provisions of Article 370, which gave special status to erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Justice NV Ramana was scheduled to hear the petitions on November 14, but the bench deferred the hearing saying it might lead to delay in the matter and the court would settle all the issues at one go after hearing all the parties.

The key issue in the matter before the bench is whether the Centre has the authority to make such drastic changes to a state under the guise of temporary power when the state was under the President’s Rule.

Senior Advocate Raju Ramachandran, who is representing petitioners, argues that the proposal to alter the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir must emanate from the people of the state through their elected Constituent Assembly.

Advocate ML Sharma, who is one of the petitioners, has requested the bench comprising Justices SK Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, B R Gavai and Surya Kant to hear the case in the largest courtroom to accommodate as many people and allow the live telecast of the proceedings.

Several political parties including the National Conference (NC), the Sajjad Lone-led J&K Peoples Conference and CPI (M) leader Mohd Yousuf Tarigami have filed pleas challenging the Centre’s August 5 decision.

A plea was also filed by a group of former defence officers and bureaucrats as well as a plea by bureaucrat-turned-politician Shah Faesal, and activist Shehla Rashid.

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