Article 370

  • Category
    Polity & Governance
  • Published
    22nd Jul, 2019

Context

The government has informed Parliament that “no foreign government or organisation has any locus standi” in repealing Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) as matters relating to the Constitution of India are internal and only for the Indian Parliament to deal with.

About

Article 370

  • According to the Constitution of India, Article 370 provides temporary provisions to the J&K, granting it special autonomy. The article says that the provisions of Article 238, which was omitted from the Constitution in 1956 when Indian states were reorganized, shall not apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • When India became independent, the state of J&K was not part of its territory. Following a tribal invasion by (North-West Frontier Province) NWFP raiders on October 22, 1947, Maharaja of J&K Hari Singh asked for troops from India to assist.
  • In turn of getting assistance from India, the instrument of accession was signed. However, it was limited to Defence, External Affairs, Communications and some other issues, with respect to which the Indian legislature could make laws for J&K.

Salient features

  • Parliament has very limited jurisdiction in case of J&K. Residuary powers rest with J&K. The Parliament has no power to legislate Preventive Detention laws for the state; only the state legislature has the power to do so.
  • Centre has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in J&K. It can declare emergency in the state only in case of war or external aggression. The Union government can therefore not declare emergency on grounds of internal disturbance or imminent danger unless it is made at the request or with the concurrence of the state government.
  • Part IV (dealing with Directive Principles of the State Policy) and Part IVA (dealing with Fundamental Duties) of the Constitution are not applicable to J&K. In addition to other fundamental rights, Articles 19(1)(f) and 31(2) of the Constitution are still applicable to J&K; i.e., the Fundamental Right to property is still guaranteed in this state.
  • The High Court of J&K has limited powers as it can’t declare any law unconstitutional. Under Article 226 of the Constitution, it can’t issue writs except for enforcement of Fundamental Rights.
  • Urdu is the official language of the state
  • Certain special rights have been granted to the permanent residents of J&K with regard to employment under the state, acquisition of immovable property in the state, settlement in the state, and scholarship and other forms of aid as the state government may provide.
  • J&K citizens have an implicit dual citizenship, I.e., though there is no specific provision of dual citizen, there are certain rights that only an original resident of Kashmir enjoy. Even the voters’ lists for State elections and for Parliament elections are not common.

Consequences of Article 370

  • It bars the people from outside the state to buy immovable and movable property here, set any industry or manufacturing unit, while no other state bars any state subject of J&K to invest there, acquire land or set business establishment.
  • It act as obstacle in attracting the flow of investment from big business houses which are running mega projects and giving employment to thousands of educated youth according to their academic, professional, skilled, and non-skilled capabilities.
  • Due to this lack of job avenues to the educated unemployed youth of state is forcing them to move out to other states for finding suitable source of bread earning. If this silent migration of youth continues, it will convert the state into a land of old and aged people in next 15-20 years, which is indeed a very serious matter and need to be taken note of by the government.
  • Unemployment in J&K has promoted militancy. A poor youth after completing education with limited resources, after sitting idle for long, gets easily lured by the people who push them into anti-national activities by giving few thousands of rupees.
  • It is a source of gender bias in disqualifying women from the State of property rights.
  • It was and is about providing space, in matters of governance, to the people of a State who felt deeply vulnerable about their identity and insecure about the future. It was about empowering people, making people feel that they belong, and about increasing the accountability of public institutions and services.
  • It is synonymous with decentralization and devolution of power, phrases that have been on the charter of virtually every political party in India.
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