Decoding Article 370

Once upon a time, there was a king who ruled freely but its own defense was not so strong, one day the king’s land was attacked from one side and the aggressors were raping women, killing children and were destroying everything which came in their way in order to kill the ruler and get the land. 

The ruler was under great pressure from its own people and in order to save himself, he signed a pact with the other neighboring nation, which helped the ruler to remove the aggressors from the major portion of his land and in the end signed a treaty with an outside help of a third organization. The Ruler was Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu & Kashmir, the aggressors were Pakistan and India helped the king to defend his own land. United Nations pressurized the Indian and Pakistani govt. to end the war in Kashmir. This is what exactly happened in 1948. 

 The real story of Kashmir is much more complex than the story I told you, to understand it better you need to join me in a ride to pre-independence J&K- One of the largest princely states of India, Jammu and Kashmir had a Muslim majority but a Hindu ruler, the states army was confined to ceremonial purposes and their internal matters were seen by the ruler so the region always enjoyed autonomy and people use to feel independent. In 1947 when Britisher’s were going to leave they asked the princely states to either join one of the two dominions ( India, Pakistan) or stay independent.

Maharaja Hari Singh the then Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir decided to be an Independent country stating the excuse of autonomy that Kashmir always had even during the British rule.  But due to the misshaping of 1948, the Jammu & Kashmir became an Integral part of India.

Article 370 is exactly the same, it gives certain autonomy to Kashmir over other states. Initially, Article 370 actually gave certain advantages to J&K but today these advantages are marginalized due to the intervention from judiciary like for eg earlier Kashmir used to have its own Prime Minister but later this post was reduced to Chief Minister.

 

Article 370-

  •  According to the Constitution of India, Article 370 provides temporary provisions to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, granting it special autonomy. 
  • The article says that the provisions of Article 238, which was omitted from the Constitution in 1956 when Indian states were reorganized, shall not apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Except for defense, foreign affairs, finance and communication, all other laws passed by Indian Parliament need to be passed by the state government before they are made applicable.
  • As a result of this, the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir are governed by state-specific laws which come under the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, instead of those for the rest of India, especially where citizenship, ownership of property and some fundamental rights are concerned.
  • This article, along with Article 5 that defines the contours of the jurisdiction of Indian Parliament regarding lawmaking for the state, cannot be amended.
  • The State can have its own flag.
  • The agreement opposed the imposition of Article 352, empowering the President to proclaim a general emergency in the state.
  • The state legislature has a six-year term, unlike other elected bodies, which have a five-year period, including our Parliament.
  • The Indian Supreme Court has no jurisdiction in J&K.
  • Disrespecting the Tricolour and other national symbols is not a crime in the state.
  • J&K residents enjoy dual citizenship. They will lose their J&K citizenship if they marry residents of other states.
  • RTE, RTI, CAG, and majority of Indian laws are not applicable in the state.
  • Because of Article 370, no outsider (anyone who is not a native Kashmiri) can purchase land in J&K. (Text: Mail Today)

All these things constitute article 370, We can say that Kashmir is somewhat like Hong-Kong for China. A question that arrives in the mind of people is that, what was the need to give Article 370 to J&K when Maharaja Hari Singh signed the same Instrument of Accession as other rulers did. Well it is a very legitimate question, surprisingly Article 370 was not discussed in the constituent assembly and Dr. B. R. Ambedkar rejected to draft this article but it was added in our constitution because our first Prime Minister wanted it. I would like to throw some light on this question without defending or going against the inclusion of Article 370. Kashmir occupied

Jammu & Kashmir always had a self-rule, the princely state had its own army, own laws, own finance even during the British time. Earlier during the Mughal period to Jammu was never an integral part of India. In 1948 when the first war over Kashmir ended, Pakistan took the 30% Kashmir’s land which is now known as the Pakistan Occupied Kashmir(POK) because of which a plebiscite which was suggested by the UN could not be conducted. India’s viewpoint is that first Pakistan should free the land and Pakistan’s view is that first India should remove its army from the land. Stuck between these two countries now Kashmiri’s feel cheated as the Kashmir of 1947 is not there, 20% went to the Republic of China and 30% is with Pakistan. Now withstanding with these big issues Article 370 gives certain privileges to Jammu and Kashmir and brings Srinagar closer to Delhi keeping it an integral part of India.

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