12 Things you need to know about Article 370

The recent abrogation of Article 370 has created far-reaching consequences for the entire nation, majorly in Jammu & Kashmir.  The move took its way as BJP promised of ‘Integrating the nation’ by repealing Article 370 of the Indian constitution that grants special status to the state.

The spark triggered when the state minister of Udhampur in J&K, Jitendra Singh initiated the controversy on BJP’s demand for the repeal of Article 370 in Prime Minister’s office. This was followed by a strong objection by Jammu & Kashmir’s chief minister Omar Abdullah who tweeted, “So the new MOS PMO says process/discussions to revoke Art 370 have started. Wow, that was a quick beginning. Not sure who is talking.”  He further added, “Mark my words and save this tweet – long after Modi Govt is a distant memory either J&K won’t be a part of India or Art 370 will still exist.”

PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti went on to comment on this controversy saying that irresponsible utterances on Article 370 should be stopped as they could have serious reverberations in J&K.

It is really important to understand how Article 370 has shaped the changes in J&K governance and what had been the vital aspects of Article 370’s history. Article 370 of the Indian constitution was a ‘temporary provision’ that granted special autonomous status to the state. Under ‘Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions’ PART XXI of the constitution the state has accorded special status. The provisions of the Indian Constitution was hence applicable to all the other states except J&K.

1.     This article accorded that except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, Parliament needs the state government’s agreement for applying other laws.

2.     Jammu & Kashmir’s residents lived under a different set of laws related to citizenship, property ownership and fundamental rights in comparison to other Indian citizens.

3.     Indian citizens from other states could not purchase land or property in Jammu & Kashmir according to the provision.

4.     The centre did not hold any power to call for a financial emergency in the state under Article 370. It was authorised to do so only in case of war or external aggression.

5.     External aggression in the Union government did not include emergency on grounds of imminent danger unless the emergency declaration was at the request of the state government.

6.     When the states were reorganised in 1956 the provisions of Article 238 did not apply in Jammu & Kashmir.

7.  In this article, the Indian Parliament did not have the ability to increase or decrease the state borders.

8.    Soon after drafting the Constitution of India, its principal drafter Dr B.R. Ambedkar refused to draft Article 370.

9.     Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1949 directed Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah to convince Ambedkar to draft a suitable article under the constitution for J&K.

10.  Gopalaswami Ayyangar drafted Article 370 in the amendment of the constitution section, Part XXI under Temporary and Transitional Provisions.

11. The original draft is quoted below:-

The Government of the State means the person for the time being recognised by the President as the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers for the time being in office under the Maharaja's Proclamation dated the fifth day of March 1948."

12.This was changed on Nov 15, 1952, as “the Government of the State means the person for the time being recognised by the President on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly of the State as the Sadr-i-Riyasat (now Governor) of Jammu and Kashmir, acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers of the State for the time being in office."

BJP’s manifesto since 2014 had consistently maintained its word of the commitment of annulling the Article 370. It also assured that it would take all the efforts to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for all residents in the state. It did not repeal Article 370 during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government due to lack of majority and had been opposing it since the Jan Sangh days.

Scrapping off the article 370 and bifurcation of the state into 2 distinct Union territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh has been cleared in the Rajya Sabha as Union home minister, Amit Shah spoke during the budget session of Parliament giving a remarkable solution to revoke these provisions since it had been the biggest hurdle in ensuring integration of the Indian state. 

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