ARTICLE 370 : THE NEVER ENDING DEBATE!

Image result for kashmiri stone pelters hdIndian Constitution is the lengthiest written constitution in the world which has 445 articles. There have been 103 amendments till now but not every article gets the same kind attention and debatable opinions as Article 370 does. What is this article and why so much fuss around it? In this article, we are going to discuss everything that you need to know about it.

Context 

The article 370 of the Indian constitution is an article that gives autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The article is drafted in part XXI of the constitution: Temporary, Transitional and special provisions. It is the only article with the “temporary” tag with it. Only laws related to foreign affairs, communications and ancillary, defence are valid in the state. For rest of the laws to be applicable, the Indian parliament needs to have a concurrence with the state government on that particular matter.
At the time of constitution making the primary idea that floated among the princely rulers of different states was to have a separate constituent assembly to the states but as it would result in 100 different nations within a country, so this was avoided. Also, seeking at the cumbersome technicalities and issues involved, it was decided that there is no such need for this kind of implementation. The unanimous decision was to have central based govt. and laws which would be applied to all the states in India. However due to political pressure and under an apprehension of militants hiding in the Jammu and Kashmir regions, the integration of the state wasn't possible.
Granting a provision in which a state is exempted from many basic laws and to have a separate state constituent assembly was not only unfair to other countrymen but also it did spread an idea of inequity. The then law minister  Dr. B.R. Ambedkar refused to pass this law but N. Gopalaswami Ayyangar, who was a close aide to Pandit Jawaharal Nehru added this in the omnipotent book of India but the law makers made sure to add a word “temporary” to safeguard the constitution from future troublesome scenarios. It is also being said that Nehru being a Kashmiri Pandit himself showed partiality in handling the issue as along with Ayyangar and the then Prime Minister of J&K Sheikh Abdulla got whatever he asked.

Arguments in favour

Apart from the earlier mentioned reasons, the article 370 was drafted in order to bring people of Jammu and Kashmir in the Indian mainstream and this argument is even presented today despite the reality being completely different. The former C.M of J&K Mr. Omar Abdullah went on to say that “The abrogation of the article 370 would result in J&K separated from India”. The article 1 is the most common argument put forward by these people. Citing the impact it will have on Kashmiri youth and children, the political parties play their game.

Arguments against it

India as a country has more pressing issues to be looked after also even the idea of abolishing article 370 and 35A invites this much controversy let alone imagining the situation when this actually happens. Article 370 is almost irrelevant to most of the Indians in other major parts of the country and also the autonomy has eroded for most of the part what remains is just a facade.The supreme court of India on 2 April 2018 responded to a plea on the issue that this article has gained a permanent stature due it’s presence in the constitution over a long time.

Why should it be abolished?

Quoting Dr. Ambedkar
You wish India should protect your borders, she should build roads in your area, she should supply you food grains, and Kashmir should get equal status as India. But the government of India should have only limited powers and Indian people should have no rights in Kashmir. to give consent to this proposal, would be a treacherous thing against the interests of India and I, as the law minister of India, will never do it.
Well the people of the valley never really got in the mainstream and this only proved to be the biggest hurdle to their intended purpose. Ever since the separate constituent assembly was made the people of J&K lived life with different set of rules. The separate assembly which got crumbled down in 1957 didn't initiate any further steps regarding the article and it’s validity in the state. Even though the constitution of India provides fundamental and equitable rights to each and every citizen but the allowance of article 370 has brought the full protection of the people of states under scrutiny. There are altogether different set of laws regarding the basic necessities such as property and even the laws related to citizenship are completely different. Political parties in the valley have been using this article as a shield to spread propaganda and the increased terror activities and the anarchy with the armed forces has resulted in chaos on countless occasions. More than handful lives have been lost in the collision between extremists and other social activist groups. The whole region is divided into two broad categories, one who want a so called “Azaad Kashmir” and other who want Kashmir to be a part of Pakistan.
Image result for go india go back crowd

Can it be really abolished?

Yes it can but the topic is very sensitive and delicate thus needs to be solved in a mature fashion. The present scenario of the valley is disheartening to be honest. The Kashmiri youth has already come under the influence of militants and terror outfits. The tension in J&K will levitate further whenever this decision of Article 370 will be taken. But legally this can be done and with the ongoing tension, the long term goal should be achieved. Under the Presidential Notification, the sub clause 3 of the Article 370 this can be done. However several law experts feel that this amendment is not that easy as it sounds. It involves a large degree of complexity. Any amendments that have been done in the Indian constitution have followed the three stage order and this too needs to follow that. But seeing the current situation the effectiveness of presidential rule and non-cooperation of the present political heavyweights in the valley, this is the right time to do the thing.
The current ruling party of the country had promised the abolishment of the article in their 2014 manifesto but it has not happened till now. The losses have been significant the attacks have been numerous both on the country and it’s constitution.
Now is the time to act. Now is the time to restore the idea of one nation, one constitution, one flag.

-Suraj Pandey (intern @ thradical.in)

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The Radical - Information That Matters: ARTICLE 370 : THE NEVER ENDING DEBATE!
ARTICLE 370 : THE NEVER ENDING DEBATE!
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