[op-ed snap] Do not touch

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Mains Paper 2: Polity | Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Once you are done reading this op-ed, you will be able to attempt the below.

“Move to re-open debate on Article 35A is unwise — loose talk on J&K’s special status will only deepen distrust.” Critically analyse?

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Article 370, Article 35A

Mains level: India’s policy on Kashmir.


News

Context

  • The government’s reply last month to the Supreme Court, saying that the questions raised in a petition challenging Article 35A require a larger debate

What is Article 35A?

  1. It was added by a 1954 presidential order issued under Article 370, the constitutional provision that mediates the relationship between the Union of India and Kashmir
  2. Article 35A empowers the state legislative assembly to specify permanent residents.

Who is permanent resident?

  • The 1956 J&K Constitution defines a Permanent Resident as one who, apart from being an Indian citizen, was a state subject on May 14, 1954, or a resident of the state for 10 years, and owns immovable property in the state. 

Apprehensions

  1. Government’s new legal pro-activism against Articles 35A or 370 will lead to more alienation in the Valley.
  2. In the Valley, the government’s reply on 35A is being seen as paving the way for moves to do away with Article 370 that excludes J&K from most laws enacted by Parliament, except through presidential orders that have the concurrence of the J&K Legislative Assembly
  3. Court has also asked the Centre to respond to a petition challenging Article 370.
  4. All this has served to strengthen suspicions that the Centre is using the legal route to bring about the changes that it wants

Back2basics

Article 370

  1. Under the Part XXI of the Constitutionof India, which deals with “Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions”, Article 370 is a temporary provision granting special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir
  2. Article 370 specifies that except for Defence, Foreign Affairs, Finance and Communications the Indian Parliament needs the State Government’s concurrence for applying all other laws
  3. The Jurisdiction of the Parliament of India in relation to Jammu and Kashmir is confined to the matters enumerated in the Union List, and also the concurrent listThere is no State list for the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
  4. At the same time, while in relation to the other States, the residuary powerof legislation belongs to Parliament, in the case of Jammu and Kashmir, the residuary powers belong to the Legislature of the State,except certain matters to which Parliament has exclusive powers such as preventing the activities relating to cession or secession, or disrupting the sovereignty or integrity of India.
  5. No preventive detention law made in India extends to Jammu & Kashmir.
J&K – The issues around the state
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