Issues over Article 370

What is Article 370 ?

  1. Article 370 was drafted under Part XXI (Part 21) which deals with “Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions
  2. Article 370 under the Constitution of India gives special status to the state of Jammu & Kashmir.
  3. The article came into effect in 1949.
  4. All the provisions of the Constitution which apply to other states do not apply to J&K until and unless the state legislative assembly separately passes such provision.
  5. Except for defence, foreign affairs, finance, and communications, Parliament needs the state government’s concurrence for applying all other laws. 
  6. The residents of the state of Jammu & Kashmir live under a separate set of laws including those related to :
    • Citizenship
    • Ownership of property
    • Fundamental rights
  7. The Directive Principle of State Policy and Fundamental Duties do not apply to the state of J&K

What is Article 35A?

  1. Article 35A was inserted through the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954.
  2. President Rajendra Prasad issued it under Article 370
  3. No outsider can own a property in J&K 
  4. No outsider can get a state job in J&K

It would be good to understand the background of Article 370 of the Indian constitution which gave special status to Jammu & Kashmir. Article 370 was temporary, transitional with special provisions. Whereas Article 35A was meant for residents of Jammu & Kashmir with a separate set of laws including those of citizenship and fundamental rights and ownership of the property in that state.

On August 5, 2019 Government of India has superseded both provisions and both clauses of Article 370 & 35A have become inoperative and now State of Jammu & Kashmir have become Union Territories and Ladakh being separate Union Territory.

Now Jammu & Kashmir can make their own rules for permanent residency, ownership of property and fundamental rights. Present Government says that they have scrapped the provisions of Article 370 so that Kashmir can be integrated with rest of India. Whereas the critics of the Government are of the view that the Kashmir issue is continuing to burn and the present Government is unnecessarily going with the issue to avoid the side effects of Economic slowdown.

On the ground people in general are abiding with the laws but opposition is not buying the points of the Government.

Hopefully in the months to come people of Jammu & Kashmir will come up for the cause of Nation and all will be settled for growth of economy.

The abrogation of Article 370 by the present-day Modi Government has divided the country. Some are for it and some against. With the Article 370 being scrapped, J&K will not enjoy any special status and the Indian constitution will be applicable to all its residents from now. Right to Information & Right to Education will be applicable and minorities in the region will l enjoy 16% reservations. Also, women from J&K can still retain their rights and citizenship even if they marry someone outside the state.  While a certain sect is happy with these implications, many consider it as a threat to human rights and the Indian Democracy.

Here are the advantages and disadvantages of repealing Article 370 and Article 35A.

Advantages of Scrapping Article 370

  • Attempts to unite Kashmir with other states of India.
  • Propagates One Nation One Constitution Slogan
  • Open doors for growth and development in the valley
  • Private investors can invest and boost the economy of the state
  • Better medical and education facilities can be provided to the residents of the Valley
  • Central government can curb corruption since it is a UT now.
  • Authorities are in a better position to curb terrorism and instill peace in the Valley

Disadvantages of Scrapping Article 370

  • Instilled insecurity in the locals as they have to give away their dual citizenship
  • Kashmiri Muslims feel it threatens the state’s unity and integrity
  • Add on to the political vulnerability and instability in the Valley
  • Hampers the delicate relationship with Pakistan. It is like a nail in the coffin
  • Implants the seeds of insecurity in certain section of citizens.
  • The implementation of the abrogation of Article 370 is a threat to the democracy. It is an attempt to polarize and appease the Hindu population in the valley.
  • Safety of Kashmiri girls is questioned. Certain Hindu fascists have threatened to marry girls of the region. This is outrightly exist.

The advantages and disadvantages can be subjective. We expect reader’s discretion.

Issues over Article 370

On 5th August 2019, the Union Home Minister of India, Shri Amit Shah announced the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A of the Indian Constitution which granted the state of J&K special status. The state is now divided into two union territories – Jammu & Kashmir (with a legislature) and Ladakh (with no legislature). This is a very significant step when it comes to managing ‘things’ in the valley and will have grave consequences for future generations as well. As always, there is a divided opinion.

Implications of Removal of Article 370

  1. J&K will no longer enjoy special status now
  2. The Indian Constitution laws will be 100 percent applicable to all residents of Jammu & Kashmir.
  3. Part 4 of the Indian Constitution, the Directive Principle of State Policy and Fundamental Duties will now apply to the state of J&K
  4. There will be no separate flag for J&K now
  5. Article 360 (Financial Emergency) of the Indian Constitution will now be applicable
  6. Minorities (Hindus & Sikhs) will have 16% reservation now
  7. Right to Information & Right to Education will be applicable now
  8. The duration of the legislative assembly will now be five years instead of 6
  9. Article 35A will be nullified. A woman from J&K can still retain her rights and citizenship even if she marries someone out of the J&K state
  10. The Panchayats will enjoy the same powers as in other states.

Enough has been said and written about Article 370 and its abrogation earlier in August 2019. While political and social analysts were predicting such a move, a few believed that the existing government will not be able to implement any changes. Eventually on August 5, 2019 the President of India issued the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 2019, C.O. 272 and the special status of J & K was revoked. The state of J&K is now divided into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir (with a legislature) and Ladakh (without a legislature).

Article 370 : Current Situation

This decision has garnered a lot of criticism by a large section of general population and the opposition. There have been mass protests organized in different cities in India in the last few months. Some have been in support of it and some opposing it. The current Modi government has been criticized at a national and global level on the way the changes were implemented. It is considered as a hazard to the human rights.

Major leaders of the popular political parties were house arrested. Internet and telephone services were revoked. Heavy troops were deployed all across the streets to curb any unrest or protests. Public movements were banned and schools and offices were shut. Such steps are considered an outright threat to the democracy. With no direct communication with the local residents of the Valley, the Government clearly denies any protests took place. However, certain media outlets have confirmed that there have been protests. Also, forceful arrests are being taken to infuse fear in the locals so that no unrest outbreak.

For almost four months Kashmir was completely cutoff with the rest of the world. Gradually schools, shops and offices have opened. The internet services still remain suspended in the Valley.

Article 370 : Government’s Take

The current Government believes to have corrected the historical blunder. It urges it was necessary to scrap Article 370 to integrate Kashmir with the rest of the country. The government aims to restore peace, curb corruption and enable growth in the Valley with this step. But only time will tell the implications of this decision.