Explained - Jammu & Kashmir Article 370 ends today

Explained - Article 370 ends today for Jammu & Kashmir


Table of Content:-

  • Introduction
  • Background
  • What Article 370 means?
  • How govt use Article 370 to end Article 370?
  • What does this mean now?
  • What's next?


Introduction:-

The Centre on August 5 abolished Article 370 that gives special status to Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) with a presidential order & moved a separate bill to bifurcate the state into two separate Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir with a legislative assembly like Delhi & Ladakh without Legislative assembly. Therefore it clearly means J&K Article 370 ends today.

The move came amid mounting tension in the state where the government, in a midnight swoop, had put the top political leadership under detention and restricted their movement. It also suspended telecom/internet services in the state.

Background:-

The Indian Independence Act, 1947 which brought an end to the British colonization in India, introduced the Instrument of Accession (IoA). The Act provided for three options: to remain an independent country, join Dominion of India, or join Dominion of Pakistan.

J&K initially decided to remain independent and signed standstill agreements with India and Pakistan. However, the state ended up signing an IoA with India in return for its help to save the state from an invasion by Pakistan.

The original accession of state was on three matters, i.e., defence, foreign affairs and communications. At the time of the drafting of the Constitution, the representatives to the Constituent Assembly of the state proposed that only those provisions of the Indian Constitution which correspond to the original Instrument of Accession should apply to the State.

Accordingly, Article 370 was incorporated in the Indian Constitution. It gives special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and permits the state to draft its own Constitution. It restricts Parliament's legislative powers in respect of J&K in as much as it stipulates that the articles of the Constitution, other than those pertaining to defence, foreign affairs and communications, would apply to the state only with the concurrence of the State's constituent assembly.

The provision was incorporated in the Constitution on October 17, 1949, in Part XXI of the Constitution: Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions. As evident from the title of the Part, it was supposed to be a temporary provision and its applicability was projected to last till the formulation and adoption of the State's constitution.

What Article 370 means?
  • Under this article, the centre needs the state government's concurrence to apply laws — except in defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications.
  • It means the state's residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians. 
  • As a result of this provision, Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Under Article 370, the Centre has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the state. It can declare an emergency in the state only in case of war or external aggression.
  • Article 370 — which comes under Part XXI of the Constitution, which deals with "Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions" — grants J&K a special autonomous status. Constitutional provisions that are applicable to other Indian states are not applicable to J&K.

How govt use Article 370 to end Article 370?
The scrapping of Article 370 would, otherwise, require a constitutional amendment under Article 368. But by invoking Article 370(3), the government has cleverly bypassed the amendment route
  • Section 3 of Article 370 empowers the President to declare the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under the Article inoperative anytime. A Presidential Order was issued using this provision to implement it.
  • Article 370(3) reads, "Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this article, the President may, by public notification, declare that this article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify".
  • Instead of scrapping Article 370, the government used the power given by the same Article to the President to make the provision ineffective.

What does this mean now?
  • This means that India's Constitution gets full applicability in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The separate constitution of Jammu and Kashmir will cease to be in operation.
  • The separate Ranbir Penal Code will give way to the Indian Penal Code.
  • Article 35A, making a distinction between the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir and the outsiders, will also cease to have any effect.
  • The reservation laws will apply in jobs and education in Jammu and Kashmir like the rest of the Indian states. Outsiders will be eligible for admission in colleges funded by the Jammu and Kashmir government and jobs in state government offices.
  • Purchasing land and owning property by people, considered outsiders till now, would be possible. This was considered a major reason preventing corporates setting up big units in Jammu and Kashmir. 
  • Kashmiri women, who marry a non-Kashmiri, and their children would no longer lose their right of inheritance.

What's next?
Union Home Minister Amit Shah has moved a bill in the Rajya Sabha to bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Making the announcement in Rajya Sabha, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the UT in Ladakh will have no legislature like Chandigarh while the other UT of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature like Delhi and Puducherry. The Two UT's will have separate Lieutenant Governor.


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