- The government of India ended Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and extended all provisions of the Constitution to the State in one go and divided the State into two Union Territories that is Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh and allowed all citizens to buy property and vote in the State.
- Home Minister Amit Shah piloted two special resolutions and a Bill creating the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh through the Rajya Sabha on 6th of August 2019. While the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature, the one in Ladakh will not.
- According to the resolution put up in the Assembly said that the President had used his powers under Article 370 to fundamentally alter the provision, extending all Central laws, instruments and treaties to Jammu & Kashmir.
Article 35A and 370
Article 370 granted an autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir, while Article 35A, incorporated into the constitution in 1954, provided special rights and priveleges to the citizens of the state.
- The then-Maharaja Hari Singh of kashmir signed the ‘Instrument of Accession’ in October 1947, which specified three subjects on which Jammu and Kasmir would transfer its powers to the government of India :
- Foreign affairs
In March 1948, the Maharaja Hari Singh appointed an interim government in the state and Sheikh Abdullah as the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir. In July 1949, Sheikh Abdullah and three other joined the Indian Constituent Assembly and negotiated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, leading to the adoption of Article 370.
- Parliament needed the Jammu and Kashmir government’s nod for applying laws in the state- except defence, foreign affairs, finance, and communications.
- The law of citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights of the residents of Jammu and Kashmir was different from the residents living in rest of India. Under Article 370, citizens from other states cannot buy property in Jammu and Kashmir. Under Article 370, the Centre has no power to apply financial emergency.
- It is important to note Article 370(1)(c) explicitly mentions that Aticle 1 of the Constitution applies to Kashmir through Article 370. Atricle 1 lists the states of the Union. This means that it is Article 370 that binds the state of Jammu and Kashmir to the Indian Union.
- Article 35A gave the Jammu and Kashmir Legislature full discretionary power to decide who the ‘permanent residents’ of the state are. It gave them special rights and priveleges regarding employment with the state government, acquisition of property in the state, settling in the state, and right to scholarships and other forms of aid that the state government provides. It also allows the state to impose any restrictions upon persons other than the permanent residents.
- To guarantee these special rights and privileges, the Article says no act of the state legislature that comes under it can be challenged for violating the Constitution or any other laws.