Delhi Keeps Kashmir Guessing On Special Status


SRINAGAR — Evading a direct reply, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Tuesday said provisions of the constitution of India are made applicable to Jammu and Kashmir from time to time based on consultation and concurrence of the state government.

 “From time to time provisions of Constitution of India are made applicable to Jammu and Kashmir based on consultation/concurrence of the State Government, as required,” said MoS Home G. Kishan Reddy in a written reply to a question by National Conference president and party’s parliamentarian from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah, who wanted to know whether it is a fact that concerted efforts are being made to weaken and revoke the special status enjoyed by the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

He had also sought to whether it is also a fact that some individuals and NGOs affiliated with right wing organisations are taking recourse to judiciary to weaken Article 370, Article 35A; and if so, the steps being taken to safeguard the special status of Jammu and Kashmir enshrined in the Constitution as the “State has witnessed enough bloodshed, chaos and mayhem?” “Certain cases relating to Article 35A and Article 370 are before the Hon’ble Supreme Court,” the MoS added.

Previously the MHA said: “At present, Article 370 is contained as a temporary provision with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir in Part XXI (Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions) of the Indian Constitution.”

In terms of Article 370, the provisions of article 1 and article 370 shall apply in relation to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, he had said.

“With regards to matters relating to the Instrument of Accession, President of India can issue orders in consultation with the State Government, whereas for applying other provisions of the Constitution of India, with such exceptions and modifications as the President may by order specify, the concurrence of the State Government is required,” said the MoS Home had said.

Last week separate questions were asked regarding the Articles 370 and 35A in the upper house of the Indian parliament.

One question was whether Article 370 of Constitution of India gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir under which Central Government has to take the approval of State Government to dispose off all the works except Defence Sector, External Affairs, Financial matters and Communication. The other was whether Article 370 is a hurdle in the all-round and suitable development of Jammu and Kashmir and also a perpetual threat to the unity and integrity of the country.

The other question was raised by Samajwadi Party leader Sukhram Singh Yadav who wanted to know the viewpoint of Government of India regarding Articles 370 and 35A in respect of Jammu and Kashmir;

The governor administration has said that only an elected government in J&K would be able to take a stand on Article 35-A before the Supreme Court, which is hearing a bunch of petitions challenging its validity.

“The stand of the state government on the request of deferment of hearing on Article 35A in the Supreme Court remains the same as requested by them on February 11,” the government spokesman had said while replying to a question on whether there was a change in the stand of the governor’s administration on the contentious issue.

The Supreme Court has said that Article 370 of the Constitution was not a “temporary provision”. It was responding to a plea challenging the validity of Article 370, which grants a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The petition was filed by Kumari Vijayalakshmi Jha, seeking a declaration that Article 370 was temporary in nature.

The petitioner had claimed before the high court that Article 370 was a temporary provision that had lapsed with the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in 1957. A Bench of judges Adarsh K Goel and R F Nariman said, “The issue concerned is covered by the judgment of this court in the 2017 SARFAESI matter, where we have held that despite the headnote of Article 370, it is not a temporary provision.”


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