NEW DELHI: The Union government on Monday moved a resolution in the Rajya Sabha to revoke Article 370 amid uproarious protests from opposition benches. The resolution was moved by Union home minister Amit Shah in the backdrop of growing turmoil in Jammu and Kashmir.
Article 370 of the Constitution is a ‘temporary provision’ which promises to grant autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir and limits Parliament’s powers to make laws for the state. Under Part XXI of the Constitution titled “Temporary, transitional and special provisions", Article 370 is categorised as a “temporary provision with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir".
Notwithstanding anything in the Constitution, the Article limits Parliament’s powers to make laws to those matters in the Union and Concurrent Lists, in consultation with the state government, as declared by the President, which should correspond with matters specified under of Instrument of Accession, the statute says. The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly currently stands dissolved.
In effect, Article 370 says that Parliament will need the state government’s concurrence for applying any law, except those that fall in the domains of defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications. Issues like ownership of property, fundamental rights and citizenship are covered under a separate law for Jammu and Kashmir.
It also lays down that only two Articles of the Constitution will apply to Jammu and Kashmir – Article 1 which defines India and Article 370 itself. The provision was included in the Constitution on 17 October, 1949.
The Union government’s move is also politically crucial because it comes in the backdrop of vociferous protests by opposition parties, including the Congress and regional parties from the state like the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the National Conference (NC).
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In the run-up to the 2019 national elections, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had reiterated its commitment to the abrogation of Article 370.
"In the last five years, we have made all necessary efforts to ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir through decisive actions and a firm policy. We are committed to overcoming all obstacles that come in the way of development and providing adequate financial resources to all the regions of the state. We reiterate our position since the time of the Jan Sangh to the abrogation of Article 370," the BJP manifesto for the national polls read.
Amid protests in the Rajya Sabha by opposition parties, the move saw BJP leaders welcoming it. “What a glorious day. Finally the martyrdom of thousands starting with Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee for complete integration of J&K into Indian Union is being honoured and d seven decade old demand of d entire nation being realised in front of our eyes; in our lifetime. Ever imagined?" BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav wrote on Twitter.