5th August 2019 will be remembered in the history of Indian politics. The age-old dispute related to Jammu and Kashmir has finally taken a major turn. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has moved a bill in the Rajya Sabha proposing the removal of Article 370 and 35A from the Indian Constitution. In this post, I will explain what is Article 370, advantages and disadvantages of Article 370 when it comes to Jammu and Kashmir.
What is Article 370?
The provision of Article 370 was drafted by the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah in the year 1947 who was appointed by Jawaharlal Nehru and Maharaja Hari Singh.
This Article is a ‘temporary provision’ which accords a special autonomous status to the State of J&K under Part XXI of the Indian Constitution. The following are some of the key features explaining the advantages and disadvantages of Article 370-A.
Advantages of Article 370
- The citizens of Jammu and Kashmir do not have to face competition in business as no outsider is allowed to carry on/ establish their business in J&K.
- Unlike other states of India, Jammu and Kashmir do not have to face the issue of population blast as no outsider can purchase land or settle in Kashmir.
- Since the only local people are of Kashmir itself, the low crime rate is low although the terrorism rate is very high.
- These special provisions have benefitted the local brands and businessmen.
- The citizens of J&K have dual citizenship.
Disadvantages of Article 370
- Due to the lack of private hospitals in Kashmir and the pathetic condition of the government hospitals, the medical condition of the State is very poor.
- There are no industrial sectors available in the state.
- Due to the lack of employment opportunities, a major chunk of the youth of Kashmir is involved in terrorism.
- The citizens of Kashmir are not allowed to vote or take part in any general election infringing on their Fundamental Rights.
- In J&K, only a Muslim person can become the Chief Minister thus giving it a religion-based politics.
- Due to so many restrictions, the education rate and GDP are very low in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Unlike in any other state of India, insulting the Indian national flag or any national symbol is not a crime in this state.
- The judicial orders passed by the Supreme Court of India are not applicable in J&K.
- If a Kashmiri girl is getting married to a man belonging to any other state of India, then the citizenship of the girl is terminated. However, if she is married to a man from Pakistan, he will obtain the citizenship of Jammu and Kashmir.
- Since no Indian laws are applied in this state, the citizens cannot apply for RTI (Right to Information).
- No emergency provisions under Article 352 and 356 are applicable in J&K. Apart from the issues related to Defence, Foreign Affairs, Finance, and Communications, the Parliament cannot apply any other law to the State of J&K without its government’s concurrence.
- All the other states of India are governed by a single set of laws except J&K, thus creating various issues especially related to territorial and jurisdictional crimes.
As it is evident from the above-mentioned points, Article 370 is nothing but a means of causing misery to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Article 370 Scrapped in Jammu & Kashmir
A cabinet meeting was held today chaired by Narendra Modi including Home Minister Amit Shah and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. These meetings were held right after disconnecting and suspending all the internet services of J&K to maintain the secrecy of the event.
At present, the government has imposed Section 144 which deals with unlawful assembly preventing the gathering of more than 4 people at a time. All mobile phone and internet services have been shut down. The key political leaders of J&K including Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti who are the former Chief Ministers are under house arrest in light of the restrictions. The Central government has even increased the strength of the security forces in the vital areas of the State.
1) Article 370 will be removed from the Indian Constitution.
2) Ladakh will now be separated from Jammu and Kashmir and both will be given the status of Union Territories.
3) Jammu and Kashmir to be a Union Territory with a Legislature and Ladakh will be a separate Union Territory without a Legislature.
4) Jammu and Kashmir will now be a Central governed State and the “Special” status will be revoked.
Article 370 Revoked: Good or Bad for Jammu and Kashmir?
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution gives a special privilege to the state of Jammu and Kashmir which instead of solving the critical issues, has triggered the panic situations in the state and in the entire country for that matter.
Today, some vital decisions have been taken by the Indian government by revoking the Article from the constitution and taking the command of J&K. There was much need for this step as J&K was facing a lot of turmoil regarding its special status which indirectly affected the country as a whole. By removing the same, the state will now be run as per the regulations of the Central Government and hopefully, the miseries of the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir can now be curbed.
However, the opinions of some legal experts are varying a bit. According to them, the removal might lead to some unrest and disputes. There may be some practical problems involved in removing Article 370.
There are a number of presidential orders issued under Article 370 extending a number of statutes and other provisions applicable in other parts of the country to J&K. If Article 370 goes without any alternative, it can create practical difficulties.