- Recent statements some politicians have brought the spotlight on two erstwhile positions in Jammu and Kashmir — J&K Prime Minister and Sadr-e-Riyasat (President of the state).
J&K Prime Minister
- J&K had its own Prime Minister and Sadr-e-Riyasat until 1965, when the J&K Constitution was amended (Sixth Constitution of J&K Amendment Act, 1965) by the then Congress government.
- It replaced the two positions with Chief Minister and Governor respectively.
- The first PM of J&K, appointed by Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh, was Sir Albion Banerjee (1927-29).
GoT in J&K
- The state had nine more PMs before Independence. The first after Independence was Mehr Chand Mahajan (October 1947-March 1948).
- He was replaced with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, who until then had been Head of the Administration.
- The next two J&K Prime Ministers were Khwaja Shamsuddin (1963-64) and Congress leader Ghulam Mohammad Sadiq (until March 30, 1965).
- It was during Sadiq’s tenure that the Centre replaced the two posts. In fact, Sadiq became the first Chief Minister of J&K, serving until December 1971.
- The J&K Constitution was adopted on November 17, 1956 but came into effect only on January 26, 1957.
- On June 10, 1952, the “Basic Principles Committee” appointed by the J&K Constituent Assembly recommended that “the institution of hereditary rulership shall be terminated” and “the office of the head of the State shall be elective”.
- The Constituent Assembly resolved that the head of state, named Sadr-e-Riyasat, would be elected by the Legislative Assembly for a term of five years and recognised by the President of India.
- The Centre did not agree initially because it “impinged upon the provisions of Article 370” where the Maharaja, acting on the advice of the council of ministers, was recognised as the head of state.
- After negotiations, the matter was resolved on July 24, 1952, when New Delhi agreed to allow J&K to recognise an elected Sadr-e-Riyasat instead of an appointed Governor.
- Only a permanent resident of J&K could become Sadr-e-Riyasat. Once elected by the Legislative Assembly, the Sadr-e-Riyasat had to be recognised and then appointed by the President of India.
- The Sixth Amendment to the J&K Constitution, carried out in 1965, made a fundamental change to its basic structure.
- Under Section 147, an amendment is to be assented by the Sadr-e-Riyasat after a Bill is passed by a two-thirds majority of the House, while Section 147 itself cannot be amended by the state legislature, and neither can an amendment that changes the provisions of Constitution of India as applicable in relation to J&K.
- Sadr-e-Riyasat, however, was replaced with Governor across the J&K Constitution, except in Section 147 which could not be amended.
- This has led to the existence of two kinds of heads of state in the Constitution — Sadr-e-Riyasat as well as Governor.
- In 1975, a Presidential Order issued under Article 370 barred the J&K Legislature from making any change to the J&K Constitution regarding appointment and powers of the Governor.