Abrogation of Article 370

The Article 370 was a part of the Indian Constitution which gave special privileges and status to the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. It was part of the Part XXI of the Indian Constitution which contains the temporary Transitional and Special Provisions.

What special privileges does Article 370 grant to the state of Jammu and Kashmir?

The passage of the Article 370 requires the Indian Parliament to take the approval of the Jammu & Kashmir government for the application of the laws passed by the Indian parliament in the state.  However, a few exceptions exist for laws related to defense, foreign affairs, finance, and internal & external communications. The Article 370 also forbids the Centre from declaring a financial emergency in the state of Jammu & Kashmir.

How was Article 370 brought into use?

Following the signing of the instrument of accession in March 1948, the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir, Hari Singh had appointed an interim administration in the state and had named the Kashmiri politician, Sheikh Abdullah as the prime minister. The prevailing geopolitical scenario in July 1949 motivated Sheikh Abdullah and his colleagues to join the Indian Constituent Assembly where they negotiated for the granting of a special status of J&K.

This lead to the adoption of Article 370 which were drafted by Sheikh Abdullah.

Are there any other laws or constitutional provisions related to the Article 370 for Jammu & Kashmir?

Along with Article 370, two other constitutional provisions have acquired a lot of say in the media on the Jammu & Kashmir issue. These are the Article 35(A) of the Indian Constitution and the 1954 Presidential Order. While the Article 35(A) grants special privileges to empower the state legislature of Jammu and Kashmir to have its own definition of “permanent residents” in the state and accordingly, provide special rights & privileges to “those permanent residents”.

A special Presidential Order was issued in 1954 after consulting with state’s Constituent Assembly which specified the articles of the Indian Constitution which were applicable to the state.

What special privileges does Article 35(A) grant to the people of Jammu and Kashmir?

The presence of the Article 35 (A) and 370 made most laws related to the citizenship, any ownership of property and the extent fundamental rights of the residents of Jammu & Kashmir separate from those living in other parts of India. The Article 370 forbids the citizens of other states from buying any property in the territorial limits of Jammu & Kashmir. The laws for reservation of assemblies and government seats are also not applied in the state which comparatively leads to a domination by most Kashmiris in state government exams.

Are there any similar articles in Indian Constitution?

Yes, on the similar lines of the Article 370, the Indian Constitution has also granted special privileges to other states. These privileges are part of Article 371 and Article 371 (A-J).

The special privileges under Article 371 is granted to the states of Maharashtra and Gujarat , Article 371 (A-I) grant special privileges to Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Mizoram, Arunachal Pradesh and Goa respectively. The Article 371J granted special privileges to the six backward districts of Hyderabad-Karnataka region.

While Article 371 has a part of the Indian constitution since its inception in 1950, the Article 371(A-J) were incorporated at various instances under Article 386 by amending the Indian Constitution.

Why is the Article 370 necessary for the Indian state?

On a closer reading of the provisions contained in the Article 370, it can be found in part (1)(c) of the article that the Article 1 of the Indian Constitution will apply to the Kashmiri only via the imposition of the Article 370.

The Article 1 contains the list of all the states of the Union and it is only the Article 370 which binds the state of Jammu & Kashmir to India. It the Article 370 is removed, there is to make a need to a separate overriding law to bind Jammu & Kashmir as a part of India.

How was Article 370 removed?

On 5 August 2019, the Home Minister of India, Shri Amit Shah had in the Rajya Sabha, announced the issue of The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 2019 (C.O. 272) under Article 370 by the President of India which in effect superseded the previous Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954.

The new 2019 order has stated that all laws and provisions of the Indian Constitution will apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

This was followed by a quick resolution which was passed in both Houses of the Indian Parliament which recommended that the President of India issue an order under article 370(3) to render all clauses of Article 370 inoperative, following which the president issued a new Constitutional Order 273 on 6 August 2019 which consigned Article 370 to history.

What was India’s Position on Article 370 before the world?

India has always considered Jammu & Kashmir an integral part of India. India has steadfastly refused to allow other powers to meddle in the Jammu and Kashmir crisis and considers the settlement of the issue of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir as a bilateral issue.

What was the domestic reaction to the Indian Parliament’s abrogation of the Article 370?

While most of the nation erupted in joy and jubilation on the announcement of the abrogation of Article 370 and the complete integration of the Jammu & Kashmir in the Indian State, the reactions were separate in the 3 regions which make up the state of Jammu & Kashmir.

While jubilation and celebrations were observed among the residents of the Hindu Majority Jammu region, the Muslim majority region of Kashmir was observed to be more subdued. To ensure the protection of law and order, India had rushed several thousand paramilitary forces to the territory and imposed a strict curfew. The reaction in the territory of Ladakh was more favorable towards India.

What was the International Reaction to the Indian Parliament’s abrogation of the Article 370?

While Pakistan raised a large hue and cry over the Indian Move to abrogate Article 370 from the state of Jammu & Kashmir, it received little international support on the International front.

Apart from China, which is the closest backer of Pakistan and heavily invested in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, no other nation backed Pakistan on any international Forum. Nations like the United States, Russia and France held the view that the Jammu & Kashmir issue is a bilateral issue of India & Pakistan and appealed for peace & stability in the region. What was perhaps more shocking for Pakistan none of Organization of Islamic Countries which traditionally back Pakistan on J&K appeared in its support on the issue. Even Muslim majority nations like Bangladesh & Maldives supported India’s stand on Kashmir.

What has happened after removing the Article 370 from Kashmir?

Following the Abrogation of Article 370 from J&K, the Indian Government has passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill, 2019 which contains the provisions to reconstitute the state into two separate Union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. While the new UT of J&K will have an assembly like the existing UTs of Delhi and Puducherry, the UT of Ladakh will be directly governed by the Central Government. This bill will come into full effect by October 31, 2019.

With this bill, the Government has also dissolved the IAS & IPS cadres of Jammu & Kashmir and now all officers are part of the existing Central government pool of bureaucrats.

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