In Constitution, a range of ‘special provisions’ for states other than J&K too.
Article 370 that grants special autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has always been debated. However, Jammu & Kashmir is not the only state for which special provisions have been laid down in the Indian Constitution.
What is Article 370?
- Article 370 provides temporary provisions to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, granting it special autonomy.
- The most prominent among the “special privileges” available to J&K is the ban on non-residents from acquiring property in the state and voting in the legislative Assembly elections.
Why Article 370 is so much in debate?
- The special status accorded to Jammu & Kashmir in the Constitution has prevented its “full integration” into the Indian Union.
- Ban or non-resident to acquire property and voting in the legislature, both the privileges are under challenge in the Supreme Court in a case against the constitutional validity of Article 35A.
What is Article 35A?
- Art 35A, which empowered the J&K Constitution to define “permanent residents” of the state, is an offshoot of Art 370 of the Indian Constitution.It was added to the Constitution through The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, issued by the President under Art 370.
Why was Article 370 incorporated in the Constitution?
- In 1947, Jammu & Kashmir negotiated the terms and conditions of its entry into the Indian Union.
- It acceded to the Union on Defence, Foreign Affairs and Communication, but wanted its own Constitution, to be drafted by its own Constituent Assembly.
- Art 370, which determines the contours of J&K’s relations with the Centre and exists as the constitutional cord between J&K and New Delhi.
- It was introduced in the Indian Constitution after Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and J&K Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah negotiated it for five months between May and October 1949.
Is J&K, the only state to be granted with such special provisions?
- J&K is not the only state that has been granted with special provisions.
- India Constitution has laid down a large number of safeguards to as many as 11 other states.
- Part XXI of the Indian Constitution, “Temporary Transitional and Special Provision’, includes, apart from Article 370 – Temporary Provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir – special provisions for 11 other states, listed under Articles 371, 371A to 371H and 371J.
Is Article 370 different from Article 371, 371 A-H and 371 J? If yes, how?
- The special provisions laid down in Art 371, 371A-H, and 371J are not as far reaching as Art 370.
- One important difference between Articles 370 and 371, and Articles 371A-H and 371J, is that while the latter set of provisions were incorporated into the Constitution by Parliament through amendments under Art 368 (which lays down the “power of Parliament to amend the Constitution and procedure therefor”), Articles 370 and 371 have been part of the Constitution from the time of its commencement on January 26, 1950.
What does the grants of such special provisions imply?
- The existence of these provisions shows that along with J&K, other princely states, too, negotiated the terms and conditions of their entry into the Union, or sought special constitutional protections in view of their unique needs and conditions.
- Each of these constitutional provisions is rooted in historical reasons.