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The Centre on Tuesday opposed the plea for referring to a larger bench a batch of petitions challenging the presidential orders repealing the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.

This submission was made by Attorney General K K Venugopal as a five-judge Constitution bench of the court comprising Justices NV Ramana, SK Kaul, R Subhash Reddy, BR Gavai and Surya Kant resumed hearing on the petitions.

“The Union government does not want the matter to be referred to a larger bench,” Venugopal said.

Senior advocates Dinesh Dwivedi and Sanjay Parekh, who have challenged the presidential orders of August 5 and 6 last year, argued for the reference of the issue to a larger bench.

However, other lawyers from the petitioners’ side, including Rajeev Dhawan and Gopal Sankaranarayanan opposed the request.

The court is also considering the constitutional validity of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, which bifurcated the state into Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh.

The bench had heard arguments for two days before the court closed for the winter break last month.

During today’s proceedings, Dwivedi referred to how the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir had come into being.

He submitted that after the Constitution of J&K came into force in 1957,  the powers under Article 370 could not have been used by the President.

The senior counsel contended that Clause 6 of the Instrument of Accession maintained the sovereignty of J&K.

Dwivedi said the Centre has limited powers to legislate when it comes to J&K by virtue of the Instrument of Accession and that Article 370 was the link between the central government and J&K.

He argued that J&K could be “governed only through the Instrument of Accession and with the consultation with the State”.

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