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The appointment of Amit Shah as the Home Minister has given air to the issues related to the Article 370 and Article 35A. These articles provide special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir. Center’s plan for the delimitation of state assembly of Jammu & Kashmir has made the intentions clear about the stand on the issue of J&K.
Scrapping of these two have been in the BJP’s manifesto for a long time . But didn’t get much attention in the first term of Modi Government. While in the second term this seems to be the hot cake for BJP and Modi-Shah duo.
What is Article 370 and Article 35 A?
Article 370 is a temporary provision in the Indian Constitution. This provides special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir and autonomy to the state. It is drafted in the part XXI of the constitution under the Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions.
According to this article, the provisions of the Indian constitution are not applicable for the state of J&K. The provisions under this article permits the state to have its own separate constitution . This ultimately provides that the Parliaments legislative powers are limited with respect to the state of J&K.
Article 35A allows the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent resident” of the state.
Why Article 370 of Indian Constitution came into existence?
On the eve of independence , the accession of J&K was unlike the other princely states. The representative of all princely states were asked to join the constituent assembly. They accepted the Constitution of India as their own constitution.
In case of J&K , the representatives demanded that only those provisions contained in original instrument of accession should be applied to the state. In accordance with this the Article 370 was incorporated in the Indian constitution.
This provided that other articles that gave power to the central government would be applied to the state only with the concurrence of state’s constituent assembly.
This was a temporary provision intended to be applicable until the state’s constitution is formulated and adopted. However, the State’s constituent assembly dissolved itself on 25 January 1957 without recommending either abrogation or amendment of the Article 370.
Hence the Article has become a permanent feature of the Indian constitution, as confirmed by various rulings of the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir, the latest of which was in April 2018.
Can this article be scrapped?
The issue for the abrogation of this article surfaced in Bharatiya Janta Party’s manifesto for 2014 general elections.
Article 370 allows deletion through a presidential order . However, such an order must be preceded by the concurrence of the constituent assembly of the Jammu and Kashmir.
However it would not be easy for the central government make it go smoothly. The decades long article has made identity with J&K and opposition parties and separatists are going to pose tough challenge.