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‘SC should deal with constitutional questions on repeal of Article 370’

by | Sep 19, 2022 | India

It is better to avoid competitive narratives on Kashmiri’s special status and Article 370 as it might make the election campaign fraught.

Speaking with the Kashmiri Law students of Indraprastha university, the eminent advocate and chairman, Kashmir (Policy and Strategy) Group Ashok Bhan said: “Kashmir Situation has wheels within wheels. It is enveloped in a dense opacity with layer upon layers of distortion’s of distortion’s of history, self-serving myths and competing political interests. Peeling off these layers by revisiting history, without prejudice on the real issues involved, can only help in a better way forward.
The question is whether the Kashmiri’s political leadership is honest in its efforts to build a narrative that is in people’s interests.”

The PAGD is demanding restoration of Article 370 and say that the abrogation is illegal and unconditional. Supreme Court is examining the constitutional validity of abrogation and simultaneously the people’s movement in Kashmir is also a challenge to legality of the abrogation, he added

On the other side Ghulam Nabi Azad, who recently quit the Congress after having been part of UPA government and Congress Working Committee for more than four decades, has ventured to politically test his waters in J&K Union Territory, for his political future.

He launched a narrative that restoration of Article 370 is impossible as long as BJP is in power and till an anti-BJP dispensation is voted to power at the centre and musters two-third majority in Parliament. Therefore, misleading the people for an unachievable objective amounts to further compounding the miseries of the common people.

What exactly has happened on 5th August 2019 is:

*No constitution amendment bill was brought in Parliament or passed

*On August 5,2019 the government issued an order under Article 370(1) superseding a similar order of 1954 and adding clause(4) to article 367 (the interpretation of article of the constitution).

*On the same day the government brought a resolution before Parliament for the repeal of Article 370, and it was passed by both houses under the proviso to Article 370(3) of the Constitution.

*On the same day, the government introduced and passed in the Rajya Sabha The Jammu & Kashmir (Reorganisation) Bill 2029, bifurcating the State and created two Union Territories. It was passed by the Lok Sabha the next day. This was done under Article 3 of the Constitution.

*On August 6, 2019,The President made a notification under Article 370(3) of the Constitution declaring that all the clauses of Article 370 shall as on August 6, 2019 cease to be operative except a sole new clause that was introduced by the same notification.

PAGD has a consistent ideological foundation for its demand for restoration of special status under Article 370 of the Constitution. It maintains this was the basis of constitutional arrangements between Kashmir and New Delhi supported and endorsed by the Constituent Assembly. Hence, no compromise.

On the other hand, Ghulam Nabi Azad conscientiously seems to be projecting a narrative on special status on realism, worldly wisdom and speaks the language of his heart. Some Congressmen are opposing Azad by spreading half-truths. It is a known fact that half the CWC endorsed the abrogation of Article 370 and the leadership maintained silence. It was Azad who spearheaded the attack on the government. In the Rajya Sabha and his G-23 colleague in the Lok Sabha, Manish Tiwari. Kashmiris need to give Azad benefit of that  \political wisdom. He deserves a reasonable hearing by people in the country and particularly in J&K.

People of the Jammu and Kashmir have a Hobson’s choice: to choose their future political dispensation through democracy. So, better avoid competitive narratives on Kashmiri’s special status and Article 370. It is likely to  make the ensuing election campaign fraught.

When Article 370 was enacted, it was a temporary one, because by then the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir had not been constituted, and as such it had not met. Because the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir have taken a decision that Jammu and Kashmir shall be part of India and to have special status, they endorsed Article 370, and the Constituent Assembly was dissolved. Article 370 itself envisaged the President of India can modify it, and ‘modify’ may mean even repeal – is a question which the Supreme court will determine.

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