J&K surrendered its sovereignty to India ‘absolutely, completely’: SC
Jammu & Kashmir “absolutely and completely” ceded its sovereignty to the Dominion of India, according to Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud, who is chairing a Constitution Bench considering petitions against the repeal of Article 370.
What is Article 370?
The Jammu and Kashmir region was given exceptional autonomy under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The arrangement between the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of India was a temporary one. Due to its unusual circumstances during the period of India’s independence, Jammu and Kashmir was given a special status under Article 370 of the Constitution.
What are the key features of Article 370?
- Autonomous Status: Jammu and Kashmir have been given considerable autonomy over their internal affairs, except for issues about defence, foreign policy, finance, and communications.
- Separate Constitution: The state of Jammu and Kashmir had its distinct flag and constitution, and it possessed alone authority over matters like citizenship and property rights.
- Limited Application of Indian Laws: Jammu and Kashmir were not automatically subject to Indian law, except the regions listed in the Instrument of Accession. Which Indian laws the state will adopt was up to them.
- Residuary Powers: Jammu and Kashmir, unlike other Indian states, were granted residuary powers, which allowed it to enact legislation relating to subjects not covered by the Instrument of Accession.
- Dual Citizenship: Residents of Jammu and Kashmir were dual citizens, holding both Indian and state of Jammu and Kashmir passports.
- Special Privileges: The state was given the right to have its flag and certain rights and privileges for its citizens.
What is the current status of Article 370?
- The Government of India issued a Presidential Order on August 5, 2019, which replaced the order from 1954 and made Jammu and Kashmir subject to all of the articles of the Indian Constitution.
- The resolution that received a two-thirds majority in both chambers of the Indian parliament served as the foundation for the order.All of Article 370’s clauses—all but clause 1—were rendered inoperative by a subsequent order on August 6.
- Additionally, the parliament approved the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which established the division of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh. The restructuring happened on October 31, 2019.
- The Supreme Court of India received a total of 23 petitions contesting the decision of the national government to repeal Article 370 of the Constitution. A five-judge bench has been established to hear the cases.
What were the observations made concerning challenging the abrogation of Article 370?
- Comparison with other Indian states: Jammu & Kashmir and Other Indian States are Comparable, According to the Chief Justice. While there are limitations on the Parliament concerning several State List topics (relating to the powers of the states), he pointed out that these limitations do not change the fact that India has ultimate sovereignty. He stated that Jammu and Kashmir’s restrictions on lawmaking were comparable to those other Indian states have on passing legislation on state matters.
- Delhi Agreement and the constitutional order: The “Delhi Agreement,” signed in 1952 by Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and Jawaharlal Nehru and granting Jammu and Kashmir several unique rights and benefits, was examined. The accord had stipulated that Jammu and Kashmir, rather than the Central government, would retain the remaining legislative authority. But according to the Chief Justice’s position, this clause did not necessarily imply the continuation of sovereignty.
- The Exclusive Powers of Parliament: The Chief Justice cited the Constitution (Application) Order of 1972, which gave the Indian Parliament the authority to pass laws to thwart actions that endangered India’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.