New Delhi, January 23 (KMS): Jammu and Kashmir was never merged into the dominion of India, a counsel representing the High Court Bar Association (HCBA) of occupied Jammu and Kashmir challenging the India’s decision to revoke the territory’s special status told the Indian Supreme Court.

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 Jammu and Kashmir.

Appearing for the HCBA, senior Kashmiri advocate, Zafar Ahmed Shah contended before the bench that the story of Kashmir was different from the Indian states 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 insisted that a separate Constitution gave Jammu and Kashmir all the powers of governance as there was never complete accession of the territory, and the independent state never ceased to exist. “The whole Constitution cannot be made applicable to the region,” he contended before the top court.

Zafar Ahmed Shah told the court that the governance should continue to vest in the people of Kashmir. “Council of ministers should agree (on the aspect of governance) and not Governor. Article 370 subsumes the sovereignty of the territory. You have your Constitution and we have our Constitution. The merger was never done,” he 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 Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian Constitution.

The Attorney General, K.K. Venugopal and Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta raised objection when Zafar Ahmad 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.

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