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Renowned Senior Advocate and jurist Fali S Nariman expressed regret on Friday, noting the absence of a dissenting judgment in the recent Supreme Court verdict on the abrogation of Article 370. While acknowledging that a dissenting opinion might not have altered the judgment’s outcome, Nariman highlighted its potential to enhance public understanding of the intricate and unique case regarding India’s northernmost state, Kashmir.

Speaking at the 28th Justice Sunanda Bhandare Memorial Lecture, focused on the ‘Role of the Judiciary in Empowerment of Indian Women,’ organized by the Justice Sunanda Bhandare Foundation, Nariman lamented the lack of dissent in the comprehensive judgments delivered by the constitution bench of five judges on the Article 370 case. He underscored the value of dissent as articulated by an American judge: “A dissent may salvage for tomorrow, a legal principle that has been omitted or forgotten today.”

The constitution bench, comprising Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, BR Gavai, and Surya Kant, had upheld the Centre’s decision to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 in 2019. Nariman acknowledged that the absence of internal sovereignty in the erstwhile state and the court’s affirmation that the state government’s concurrence was unnecessary to apply the Indian Constitution were key components of the judgment.

Nariman commended Justice BV Nagarathna, the current sitting judge, for her legal knowledge and her readiness to dissent when necessary. He referred to Justice Rohinton Nariman’s book, emphasizing the importance of dissent, stating that dissent serves not only as a safety valve within a bench but also communicates to the public that the highest court is in robust health and effectively fulfilling its duties.

Justice Nagarathna, in her address, asserted that the participation of women in the judiciary is both a constitutional imperative and a crucial step toward achieving a robust, transparent, inclusive, effective, and credible judicial process. She emphasized that having more women on the bench can contribute to a more effective space for the delivery of justice in the country.