Article 370 of the Indian Constitution deals with the special status given to the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. It enables J&K to have its own constitution which permits the state to give some special privileges to its permanent residents.
History of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution:
- When India and Pakistan got freedom from the British rule, J&K refused to join any of them and wanted to remain as an independent nation.
- Maharaja Hari Singh was the King of Jammu and Kashmir at that time.
- Azad Kashmir Forces, backed by Pakistan, attacked Jammu and Kashmir on 20th Oct. 1947. Maharaja Hari Singh asked India for help as they were not able to protect themselves. India agreed to help if Jammu and Kashmir accede to India and an ‘Instrument of Accession’ was signed between on 26th October 1947.
- On 17th October 1949, the Indian Constituent Assembly adopted Article 370 of the Constitution. It clearly states that the provisions of this Article with respect to the State of J&K are ‘temporary’ and not permanent.
Who drafted Article 370?
After the refusal by Dr.B.R. Ambedkar, the then PM Jawaharlal Nehru asked Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah to consult Ambedkar to prepare the draft Finally, Article 370 was drafted by Gopalaswami Ayyangar. He was a Union Minister in the first Union Cabinet of India but had no portfolio. Gopalaswami was also former Diwan to Maharajah Hari Singh, the king of Jammu & Kashmir.
What is Article 370 of the Indian Constitution
- Article 370 is a temporary provision drafted in the Constitution’s Part XXI: Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions.
- The provision gives special privileges to the citizens of Jammu & Kashmir.
- It also restricts the applicability of many provisions of the Indian Constitution to Jammu & Kashmir.
- It also makes it possible to restrict the applicability of any law unless it is passed by the State Government. The exception is only for the laws related to foreign affairs, defence, communication and finance.
- The Union Government cannot declare a financial emergency in J&K as provided for under Article 360 of the Indian Constitution. The emergency can be declared only in case of war or external aggression.
- Emergency on grounds of internal disturbance or imminent danger can be declared only at the request of the State Government.
The special privileges given to J&K as per Article 370 of the Indian Constitution:
- Jammu and Kashmir citizens have dual citizenship. They are a citizen of J&K State and also an Indian citizen.
- J&K has its own separate flag.
- The term period of the legislative assembly in Jammu and Kashmir is 6 years.
- The orders of the Supreme Court are not valid in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Only a permanent resident of Kashmir can buy land in Kashmir.
- A woman who marries an Indian of the other state would no more have its Kashmiri citizenship. But if she marries a Pakistani, her citizenship will remain intact.
- Except for defence, foreign affairs and communication, all the other laws have to be passed by the State government before they become applicable.
- All the bills passed by the parliament should also be passed by the State government to be applicable in the State. For example, the Right to Information (RTI) act cannot be filed by the Kashmiri citizens because the RTI bill is not passed by the State government.
- Right to Education is also not implemented in Kashmir.
- Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state.