JAMMU AND KASHMIR – ABROGATION OF ARTICLE 370
Updated: Dec 1, 2020
By M. Palani Selvi, B.Sc.,
Jammu and Kashmir were one of 565 princely states of India during the British period. After the independence, the rulers of princely states were given rights to join either India or Pakistan. The ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh wanted to join neither of the dominions and sent a Standstill Agreement to both India and Pakistan. Pakistan signed the agreement but India decided to refuse it. But, later in October 1947, tribesmen from Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) breached the agreement and invaded Jammu and Kashmir. Maharaja Hari Singh had no other way but to seek help from New Delhi. India agreed to rescue Jammu and Kashmir from the invaders, asking the Maharaja to sign an “Instrument of Accession”. It was signed between India and the ruler of Jammu and Kashmir on 26th October 1947, thereby agreeing to accede to the union of India. Through this Instrument of Accession Maharaja, Hari Singh handed over the control of the defence, Foreign affairs, and communication.
Article 370 of Indian Constitution, which comes under Part XXI (Temporary, Transitional and special provisions) granted Jammu and Kashmir a special status. It was added to the constitution on 17th October 1947 as a “Temporary Provision”. Under this Article, the centre cannot interfere in any matters except defence, Foreign affairs, and communication without the state government’s concurrence. The centre had no power to declare a financial emergency in the state. And Article 35 (A) defined the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir in its state legislature. It was inserted under the Constitution (Application to J & K) Order, 1954. Under this,
· No outsider is allowed to own property in Jammu and Kashmir, neither
they can get a state job.
· Women were deprived of property rights if they marry an outsider
The Parliament passed The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019. The Special Status to the state was revoked by scrapping Article 370 and 35 (A) and the state Jammu and Kashmir were bifurcated into two union territories Jammu and Kashmir (with legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature). The union territory Ladakh includes the districts Leh and Kargil and other territories are included in the Jammu and Kashmir union territory. It propagates One Nation, One constitution theory. The private sector would be able to invest in Jammu and Kashmir and this helps in boosting the economy of the nation. Hereafter, Kashmir women will not be deprived of property rights if they marry the outsiders. Unlike earlier, People can access public information through Right to information act and Right to education act is now applicable to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. They will no longer have dual citizenship, separate flag or anthem. The Ranbir penal code was abolished and now it is replaced by Indian penal code. Hindus and Sikhs are the minorities present in Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier they were not benefited with any reservation but after the removal of special status, minorities will be eligible for 16% reservation. Duration of the Legislative assembly is reduced from six to five years. Panchayats have given the same rights as other states. The citizens of the two union territories will now enjoy the fundamental right which was not the case earlier.
It is a bold attempt taken by the BJP government to scrap Article 370. Revoking of special status helps the government to curb the terrorist activities inside the territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Now, Jammu and Kashmir is a part of India not only in geographical and territorial extent but also in the form of law and order. Despite some conflicts, it has major positive impacts that enhance the life of Jammu and Kashmir people.