On 5 August 2019, the Parliament of India passed a resolution proposed by Home Minister Amit Shah to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s temporary special status, or autonomy, granted under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Jammu and Kashmir, a region administered by India as a state, includes the larger part of Kashmir, a source of contention between India, Pakistan, and China.
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ABROGATION OF ARTICLE 370
Indian constitution’s Article 370 granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir. A region located in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent administered by India from 1954 to 31 October 2019, the state had a separate constitution, a state flag, and autonomy over the state’s internal administration.
The Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir area was part of the broader Kashmir region, which has been claimed simultaneously by India, Pakistan, and, to a lesser extent, China since 1947.
The Indian constitution’s Part XXI, was headed “Temporary, Transitional, and Special Provisions’ Article 370. The Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly would have the authority to recommend the degree to which the Indian constitution would apply to the state.
The state assembly may even repeal Article 370 entirely, rendering the whole Indian Constitution applicable to the state.
Following the convening of the state constituent assembly, the article proposed the parts of the Indian constitution applicable to the state. A Presidential Order was passed in 1954 to this effect. Article 370 was declared a permanent component of the Indian Constitution after the state constituent assembly disbanded without advocating its repeal.
The Government of India issued a Presidential Decree on August 5, 2019, replacing the 1954 order and applying the articles of the Indian constitution to Jammu and Kashmir. The ruling was based on a two-thirds majority resolution voted by both houses of India’s parliament. A subsequent order on August 6 rendered all of Article 370’s sections ineffective, save clause 1.
REMOVAL OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR’S SPECIAL STATUS
The Indian constitution’s Article 370 granted the state of Jammu and Kashmir a unique status. The constitution limited the authority of the Indian parliament to pass legislation for the states.
In effect, the “temporary’ special status permits the state of Jammu and Kashmir to have its constitution, flag, and make decisions, except for matters relating to defence and international affairs. On October 17, 1949, the interim measure was incorporated into the constitution.
This unique position of Jammu and Kashmir dated back to the end of British rule in India in 1947 when Maharaja Hari Singh of the then-colonised state of Jammu and Kashmir signed a Treaty of Accession to join the Indian side.
Meanwhile, Article 35a, introduced to the constitution in 1954 as part of Article 370, provides the state of Jammu & Kashmir the authority to select who is allowed to live there permanently. Residents in government positions, while purchasing property in the state, and for educational scholarships, among other things, are given special privileges under the clause.
The state defines its permanent residents as those that are “born or settled within the state before 1911 or after having lawfully acquired immovable property and resident in the state for not less than 10 years before that date’.
Non-permanent residents were prohibited from living in the state, purchasing land, or accepting government employment or scholarships under the legislation. This special status of Jammu and Kashmir, provided by Article 370 was removed with the introduction of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019.
IMPACT OF ABROGATION OF ARTICLE 370
The Union territories of Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh were fully incorporated into the national mainstream following constitutional amendments and restructuring of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir.
The people of Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh had access to all of the rights entrenched in the Indian Constitution and the benefits of all of the country’s Central Laws.
The transition resulted in socioeconomic growth in the new union territories, namely the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Few of the significant changes leading to both the new union territories down the path of peace and progress include:
- People’s empowerment,
- Repeal of unjust laws,
- Provision of equity and
- Fairness to people discriminated against for generations and are now receiving their due and comprehensive development
The three-tier structure of grassroots-level democracy in Jammu and Kashmir is now created with elections for Panchayati Raj Institutions such as Panches and Sarpanches, Block Development Councils, and District Development Councils.
EFFECT ON TERRORISM WITH ABROGATION OF ARTICLE 370
The government’s primary motivation for revoking special status was to “remove the threat of terrorism’.
The security situation in Jammu and Kashmir improved drastically with the repeal of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
After the provision was removed from the constitution on August 5, 2019, violence in the valley decreased considerably.
The home ministry stated in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha that the number of terrorist incidents in 2020 decreased by 59% compared to that in 2019. Compared to the same time in 2020, occurrences decreased by a further 32% through June 2021.
According to the report, 59 individuals were killed in terror-related events since August 2019, whereas civilian casualty has come down to zero in law enforcement-related incidents over the same period.
However, since the twin drone strikes on the Indian Air Force station at Jammu airport, cross-border terrorism has become a concern. Drones were employed for the first time in a sophisticated attack, which raised more concerns for the future.
ADVANTAGES TO ALL OF ITS CITIZENS
- Finally, the objective of one nation, one constitution was achieved. This reorganisation will instil a sense of unity among all Indian citizens.
- The private sector can easily invest in J&K. This will help the state’s economy.
- Aside from tourism, the act will create various other job opportunities.
CREATION OF ANOTHER UNION TERRITORY
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, was approved by Parliament of India by dividing the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, namely Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh.
On October 31, 2019, the reorganisation came into effect.
- With the Presidential declaration of August 9 approving the partition of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories, India would have one fewer state and two more union territories.
- The country’s total number of states will increase to 28, whereas UTs will increase to nine.
- The Jammu and Kashmir union territory, like Puducherry, would have a legislature, whereas Ladakh will become a union territory without one, like Chandigarh. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, lieutenant governors (LG) would lead both union territories.
- Lieutenant governors G C Murmu and R K Mathur led the Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, respectively.
- Murmu is a former bureaucrat from Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state.
- Mathur was sworn in for the first time in Leh, where he was handed the oath of office. Murmu took the oath of office in Srinagar.
- Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court Gita Mittal was sworn in by the two LGs.
- On Thursday, the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution and the Ranbir Penal Code (RBC) were repealed.
- When Jammu and Kashmir became a union territory on Thursday, the Centre gained direct authority over the police and law and order. The elected administration was handed over change of the land there.
- On National Unity Day, the new union territories were established to commemorate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, India’s first home minister and independence fighter.
CRITICISM FOR ABROGATION OF ARTICLE 370
Mehbooba Mufti, the most-recent Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, described it as the ‘blackest day in Indian democracy’. The Indian Parliament, she believed, had taken everything from the people of Jammu and Kashmir. She added in a tweet on August 4 that the Jammu and Kashmir leadership’s decision to reject the two-nation idea in 1947 and join with India had backfired.
Omar Abdullah, a former Chief Minister, described the government’s action on Article 370 as ‘unilateral and alarming’. He termed it as a “gross violation of the confidence that the people of Jammu and Kashmir had placed in India when it acceded to it in 1947′.
According to Asgar Ali Karbalai, former Chief Executive Councillor of Kargil’s Hill Development Council, Kargil residents believe any separation of the state based on “faith, language, or geography’ to be undemocratic. The Imam Khomeini Memorial Trust, among other religious and political organisations in Kargil, denounced the Indian government for acting “without the permission of the people’ and called for a nationwide strike in the Kargil area.
“This is being viewed as the worst betrayal by the Indian state in the previous 70 years’, Kashmiri lawmaker Shah Faesal said:
“I was unable to contact or message Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, or Sajjad Gani Lone. Curfews are stricter in other districts. You might argue that the whole eight-million population has been imprisoned like never before’, and called the removal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status as “an affront to the people’s dignity’, he added, in an interview with The Guardian.
“It will, in my opinion, have both immediate and long-term repercussions. In the following days, we will witness ground mobilisation, and in the long term, alienation sentiment will grow, and [it] will erupt. Everything has come to an end, is the usual cry. We’ve had everything taken away from us. These are the prevalent phrases on the lips of any Kashmiri these days. We don’t have an option except to fight’.
On 14 August 2019, Faesal was reportedly held by Indian security forces, prompting a statement from over 100 persons affiliated with Harvard University (his alma school) denouncing the incarceration and demanding for Faesal’s and other Kashmiri leaders’ release.
The Indian government’s action was historic and extremely brave. Article 370 was only intended to be a temporary, transitional provision.
The article was only supposed to be in effect until Jammu and Kashmir drafted its constitution, but the special status extended for a longer duration. The extension was made to demonstrate India’s interest in the Jammu and Kashmir region and lobby for stability in the region.
India’s decision to repeal Article 370 appears to be a good decision. Many laws have been proposed in Kashmir to punish wrongdoers and make the region a safer place to live. Concerning any terrorist actions in Jammu and Kashmir, more stringent Indian legislation can better protect the region.
The act can only benefit from India’s constitution’s extensive rights and obligations if it enters its actual territory.
Who has taken oath in Jammu and Kashmir High Court under the Indian constitution after removing 370 articles?
Article 159 of the Indian Constitution spells out the oath taken by the governor (LG), and it was administered by the Chief Justice of the State's High Court or any other senior justice if the Chief Justice was unavailable.
Who drafted Article 370?
Ayyangar was the primary drafter of Article 370, which provided Jammu and Kashmir local autonomy.
Is Jammu Kashmir still a union territory?
With effect from October 31, 2019, the legislation reconstituted the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, namely Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.