Bill Against Constitutional Propriety: NC

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National Conference MP Hasnain Masoodi speaks in the Lok Sabha – File Photo

New Delhi: National Conference Member of Parliament from Anantnag retired Justice Hasnain Masoodi on Wednesday said the Jammu and Kashmir official Languages Bill, 2020 is against the constitutional propriety because the law is a consequence of the J&K State Reorganization Bill which is under the judicial scrutiny of Supreme Court of India.

While speaking on the J&K official languages bill in the Lok Sabha, Masoodi, according to a party spokesperson said, “Jammu and Kashmir at the time of its Accession with the Union of India was a sovereign country having its own constitution of 1949, which continued to remain in force until 1950 unlike other constituent units of the country. The constitution of India subsequently provided for J&K to have its own constitution. Subsequently J&K constituted its constituent assembly which culminated in the constitution making the state in 1957.

As per NC spokesperson, Masoodi said the Urdu was made the official language of the state by Maharaja Pratap Singh in 1899 and then again chosen to be the official language of the state by the J&K constituent assembly.

“He said the Parliament is not competent to abrogate the constitution of the state by bifurcating it into two UTs and that the Constitutions cannot be nullified and obliterated altogether even though amendments as per the prescribed law and valid constitutional procedures,” the NC spokesperson said.

He said that Masoodi while underscoring the legislative incompetence of the Parliament to amend the Constitution of the state said the constitution of the state was still in force, and Urdu which is the official language of the state under the section 145 of the state constitution is still the official language of the state.

“Constitution cannot be abrogated, and the parliament sans the authority to abrogate it. The constitution can only be changed by the constituent assembly or a referendum. By dividing a state the constitution of J&k cannot be nullified. It is still in force. The J&K official languages bill 2020law which has been brought by the government is a consequence of the J&K state reorganization act 2019, which is constitutionally suspect being challenged in the Supreme Court by 12 petitioners.

The constitutional propriety demands that the J&K Official languages bill be taken back as a mark of respect for the country’s judiciary and principles of parliamentary democracy,” Masoodi said.

Masoodi also expressed concern over the haste with which the GOI is pursuing the bill in spite of the formal admission of the state reorganization act of 2019 by the honorable SC for judicial scrutiny.

“The supreme court could decide against the measures of August 2019. By bringing such a law the GOI is anticipating the decisions of the Supreme Court. Ideally the legislature is supposed to respect the judiciary, which unfortunately is not being done here. Even in the J&K reorganization act of 2019 the legislature of J&K has been powered to frame laws on official languages matter under section 47. Here the provision of section 47 is being suspended by the president under emergency provision of section 73 of the reorganization act, which endow the resident to suspend Sec 47 by using Sec 73 for proper administration. Using emergency section of section 73 is also unreasonable because Urdu and English languages are already working official languages of J&K and there is no need to bring this bill. What will the GOI do if SC decides against the measures of 5th August and all the laws which were enacted as a consequence of it?” he said, as per NC spokesperson.

He said the NC MP also said unnecessarily confusion is being created on ground by having five official languages for J&K, whereas in other states the number of official languages does not exceed two languages despite their diverse linguistic makeup.

“He urged the GOI to take back the law and wait for the final verdict of the Supreme Court on the validation of the measures taken on 5th of august 2019,” the NC spokesperson added.

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