New Delhi: While government on August 5 imposed Section 144 of the CrPC in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K)’s Srinagar district, speculation rife that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government could scrap or try to amend the Article 370 and Article 35A, which give a special status to Jammu & Kashmir.
So let us know about the legislation that is creating turmoil in both the Valley and the parliament.
What is Article 370?
According to the Constitution, Article 370 empowers J&K to be an autonomous state under the temporary provisions of “special status” state.
Drafted in Part XXI, under Temporary and Transitional Provisions, 370 is an extension of Article 35A, which allows the state to have its own constitution, flag and the right to handle its own laws except on matters that impact national security.
All provisions, applicable to other states, are not applicable to J&K. Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state and needs the state government’s unanimity in all affairs except that of defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications.
The Centre cannot establish any kind of internal emergency in the state without prior consultation with the state government unless in case of war or aggression from an external entity.
Initially drafted in 1949 by Gopalaswami Ayyanga, Article 370 is actually an extension of Article 35A and both of these were formulated keeping in mind the sensitive nature of the state to protect the rights of the state as well of the citizens.
What is 35A?
Article 35A allows the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to define permanent residents of the state. It was inserted through the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, which was issued by President Rajendra Prasad under Article 370, on the advice of the Nehru-led Union Government.)
Article 35A was introduced in 1954 by the way of a Constitutional Order by the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Nehru government.
To make any changes to the constitution or add a new law, the process prescribed by the constitution is to introduce the bill in the Parliament.
However, under Article 370(1) (d) the President is allowed make exceptions and modifications with the concurrence of the government of the state for the benefit of the subjects of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
When the J&K Constitution was adopted in 1956, it defined a permanent resident as someone who was a state subject on May 14, 1954, or who has been a resident of the state for 10 years and has lawfully acquired immovable property.
So under this clause, no outsider can own property in J&K or get a state job.
Notably, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has refused to stand by Article 35A. The former chief ministers of J&K Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah, among others, have warned against the tampering of the law.