Explained: Article 370 and Article 35A -Subodh Varma
It is the existence of these Articles that supported the integration of Kashmir into India, unlike the RSS and BJP’s campaign against these Articles.
With Home Minister Amit Shah’s announcement of a new Presidential Order which finishes off Article 370 of the Constitution and the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, there is widespread confusion as to what exactly has happened. Due to a sustained campaign by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Bharatiya Janata Party over the decades, many are led to believe that Article 370 and Article 35A are somehow obstacles in the integration of people in J&K with the rest of the country. However, the reality is to the contrary – it is the existence of these Articles that supported this integration. Here is a short explainer on the two Articles and their significance.
What is Article 370?
It is a provision in the Constitution, passed by the Constituent Assembly, that exempts J&K from the automatic application of the Constitution (except Article 1 and Article 370 itself) and permits the state to draft its own Constitution. It provides that laws passed by Parliament can be extended to J&K only after “concurrence” of the state government is given. Several other states enjoy this special status under Article 371, from 371A to 371I.
Was it a temporary provision?
The Article appears in Part XXI of the Constitution under the heading ‘Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions’. BJP has, thus, been arguing that this means that Article 370 was just a temporary provision. Various petitions have been filed from time to time in courts. The Supreme Court rejected this plea in April 2018 and said that Article 370 is not temporary. As far back as in 1969, in the Sampat Prakash case, a five-judge Bench had said, “Article 370 has never ceased to be operative,” implying that it is a permanent provision.
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