REVOCATION OF ARTICLE 370: TOWARDS NATION'S WELFARE OR A POLITICAL AGENDA

Authors:

Shreya Taneja, Amity Law School Delhi (GGSIPU)

Prachi Sharma, Lloyd Law College

Riya Chadha, FIMT, IPU


Editor:

Meghaa G., TNNLU

INTRODUCTION

One of the country's most contentious subjects from last year was the abrogation of Article 370 which, as we all know, provides special status for Jammu and Kashmir. However, it is not the special status given to the J&K State but the Constitutional Status.

When India gained independence from the Colonials in 1947, the Indian Union was joined by many States such as the Deccan, Mysore region, and Madras Presidency. Some were required to enter and some were offered a choice of sorts. Seeing the Muslim population in the area, Kashmir was hesitant to join either of the forces on its sides, i.e. India or Pakistan. Under Maharaja Hari Singh and the Head of Congress, Sheik Abdulla, Article 370 was added to the Indian Constitution on a temporary basis in the year 1949.

Since then, Article 370 has been a part of the rule of Jammu and Kashmir until it was abrogated on August 5, 2019. The Central Government abrogated Article 370 and transformed the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, namely the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Ladakh, the latter comprises of districts Leh and Kargil.

Rationality Behind Such Abrogation Of Article 370

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his speech stated that such abrogation is for better administration, good governance and economic development of the region. The move was further rationalized by stating it had allowed corruption & militancy in Jammu & Kashmir[1].

Certain other factors towards such step are to prosper the region economically and socially. Also, such social amalgamation further reduces threat of militancy[2]. This may prove to be good diplomacy to deal with Pakistan over territorial dispute. It will especially impact the equation of the Centre and state relation.

Immediate Consequences

After the removal of special status, residents and political leader of Jammu & Kashmir have faced consequential effects such as:

  • The relations between India and Pakistan are generally quite delicate and hostile on Kashmir’s issue. The abrogation of Art.370 has resulted in conflict and disaccord between India-Pakistan’s bilateral relations.

  • Majority of the administrative autonomy has been stripped away. For instance, special status of Governor rule, separate constitution and flag has been removed.

  • Residents of Jammu & Kashmir have lost special priority as to government jobs, seats in government colleges & universities, acquiring of land & property, etc.

  • Legislative powers of the State had been shifted to the Union Government, reducing equitable representation.

  • Revocation of Privilege to dual citizenship has created insecurity among citizens.

  • The special majority & unity of Kashmir Muslims has been disrupted.

Beneficial Effects

Before, revocation of Art.370 from the Constitution of India, the special power given to the State of Jammu and Kashmir has been a major obstacle in the economic development of India. To overcome, this issue, the Government came up with revocation that has following positive impacts--

  • The foremost change that took place is that the state of Jammu and Kashmir is divided into two union territories i.e. Ladakh and J&K. meanwhile, the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir will have a state legislative assembly. However, Ladakh is a Union Territory without Legislative Assembly.

  • Reservation in Government jobs & colleges and Universities in J&K is available to people belonging to SC/STs/Minority communities.

  • Fundamental right of Right to information under Article 19(1)(a)[3] is applicable in J&K.

  • There is an increased opportunity for nation-wide investors & companies to start investments & start-ups factories or industries. It’s a constructive step towards employment.

  • Citizens are legally authorized to buy lands & property and settle in union territory of J&K.

  • Government Authorities have the power to enforce law & order, in a uniform manner, nationally.

  • The supremacy of a single Government allows control over terror activities and creates a feeling of peace and unity among citizens.

  • The term of Jammu & Kashmir’s Legislative Assembly has been reduced to 5 years from 6 years as of before revocation, allowing equitable representation.

  • President rule under Article 356[4] shall apply to Jammu & Kashmir instead of governor rule.

International Point Of View

As far as the international standpoint is concerned, there are mixed responses. China has commented on this repeal, calling India's decision "unacceptable and void[5]. The Chinese Foreign Ministry supported their statement by saying that the abolition of Article 370 and the formation of a separate Union Territory will affect the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country.

However, India responded strongly by reminding China that India has never interfered with China's internal affairs and also reminded them that India’s decision on Article 370 is a 'private' decision[6].

Russia, which is India’s constant supporter, has backed India 's move in this matter. The Russian Foreign Ministry said that “we are proceeding from this that changes in the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and its division into two union territories are carried out in the framework of the Constitution of the Republic of India.”[7]. The US, the UAE and Sri Lanka all seemed to help India’s push in Kashmir. So, there is assistance coming from several nations on the international level.

Recommendations

1. One of the leading fuss before the Central Government of India is to restore the trust, lack of which is a prominent factor behind such deterrent attitude towards the Abrogation of Article 370 by not only the Kashmiris of all denominations but pro-Indian voices who stayed neutral in such conflicts. This Abrogation decision not only disentitles the pro-established political class in Kashmir but also results in Kashmiris having sympathy towards separatists[8]. There is a need to form an emotional bond within the Valley. Thinking of solving the problem through economic packages, reservations and giving special status would not help unless there is a mutual trust between the two.

2. After changing the face of conflict over Kashmir and its political geography, government should come out with a strategy to work on administration by adopting soft measures instead of adopting harsh approach[9]. Special arrangements under Article 371 of Indian Constitution should be made for both Jammu & Kashmir in order to sooth the peoples’ nerve and ensure Economic, Social and Cultural protection of each resident in the valley.

3. There is a need to address the divergent propensities such as separatism, militancy and their learning & training from other nations adopting comprehensive approach. Once they seek constitutional assurance, they won’t be falling prey to Pakistani’s propaganda that aims at exploiting them emotionally, economically, socially and culturally[10].

There is a need to broadcast that Kashmiris can exercise the democratic rights granted to them and should change their perspective by looking into the positive aspect of the strategies laid out.

4. There is an urgent need of uplifting the internet blackout in all the educational institutions. Prolonging the internet ban will only isolate the students and youth who are already disturbed by the situation[11].

The government’s duty is to take an initiative in establishing the higher educational institutions such as IITs, NLUs, Medical Colleges etc having necessary equipments and infrastructure needed. Quality manpower is requirement of each country to enhance its economy.

5. Its high time now for the Centre to perceive the requirement of conducting severe & transparent interaction session by forming a committee who will be interacting with the locals involving all the generations to get a better idea of their perspective, expectations &knowledge[12].

6. Centre must ensure that new political processes should harbour restrained voices in the valley stressing on comprehensive approach. It should aim at making fair and corruption free control.

Conclusion

The Indian government's unprecedented move is a real courageous one and doesn't seem to be a negative one. There were several laws that should be enforced in Kashmir to punish wrongdoers and make it a place to live without violence. With more stringent Indian laws, it can be protected more effectively in relation to all terror activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

Such integration seems to be necessary for the future development of the country and the locals of that valley. This will help locals stabilize themselves economically, socially, culturally and educationally. We have noticed lack of trust and understanding to be pertinent factor behind such deterrent attitude of the locals, so definitely there seems to be a need for the Centre to work on this issue by taking into account above mentioned solution.

[1]Staff writer, A historic decision: PM Modi on abrogation of Article 370 – Key takeaways, LIVE MINT (Aug 08, 2019), <https://www.livemint.com/news/india/narendra-modi-on-jammu-kashmir-move-article-370-live-updates-1565273201524.html> (Last Visited on July 09,2020). [2]Ibid. [3] INDIA CONST. art. 19, cl. (1)(a) [4] INDIA CONST. art. 356 [5] Chitranjan Kumar, Article 370: India reacts sharply to China's remarks on revoking special status to Jammu and Kashmir, BUSINESS TODAY (Aug 06, 2019), <https://www.businesstoday.in/current/economy-politics/article-370-india-reacts-sharply-to-china-remarks-on-revoking-special-status-to-jammu-and-kashmir/story/370989.html> (Last Visited on July 10, 2020). [6] Chitranjan Kumar, Article 370: India reacts sharply to China's remarks on revoking special status to Jammu and Kashmir, BUSINESS TODAY (Aug 06, 2019), [7] Press Trust of India, Within framework of the Constitution: Russia backs India on Kashmir move, HT (June 13, 2020), <https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/russia-backs-india-on-kashmir-issue/story-4ZQWFxW56lev3kmHPHGQ8J.html> (Last Visited on July 09,2020). [8]Rakesh Khar, Abrogation of Article 370: It is now time to bridge trust deficit in Kashmir, CNBC TV 18 (July 09, 2020), <https://www.cnbctv18.com/politics/abrogation-of-article-370-it-is-now-time-to-bridge-trust-deficit-in-kashmir-4116831.html> (Last Visited on July 09,2020). [9]Ibid. [10]ANI, Abrogation of Art 370 to curb terrorism, separatist sentiments in J-K, BUSINESS STANDARD ( Aug 07, 2019), .<https://www.business-standard.com/article/news-ani/abrogation-of-art-370-to-curb-terrorism-separatist-sentiments-in-j-k-119080701910_1.html> (Last Visited on July 09,2020) [11]Prateek Waghre, What 300 Days of Internet Winter in Kashmir Tell Us About Erecting a Digital Wall, THE WIRE ( may 26,2020), <https://thewire.in/tech/kashmir-internet-4g-digital-wall> (Last Visited on July 09,2020). [12]Supra note 3.

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