SRINAGAR: The high court in Indian Occupied Kashmir has ruled that Jammu and Kashmir retained limited sovereignty and did not merge with the Dominion of India after Partition in 1947.
In its historic verdict last week, the high court ruled that the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is “a permanent provision” and “cannot be abrogated, repealed or even amended”. Under the Indian constitution, Article 370 grants special status to the disputed state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“It (Article 370) is beyond amendment, repeal or abrogation, in as much as Constituent Assembly of the State before its dissolution did not recommend its Amendment or repeal,” the bench said in its verdict. The court added that Article 35A gives “protection” to existing laws in force in the state.
“No other provision of the Constitution as provided under Article 370 (1), would be applicable to the State except, by Presidential order in consultation with the State in case the provision is akin to subjects delineated in Instrument of Accession and with concurrence of the State, in case it does not fall within ambit of Instrument of Accession,” the court said.
The judgment assumes significance as a petition challenging Article 35A, which upholds the state’s special status, has been submitted in the high court. The J-K assembly’s autumn session was also rocked by protests demanding a discussion on 35 A that was disallowed by the speaker, the Hindustan Times reported.
The opposition National Conference, pressing for strengthening of Article 35 A, said the judgment should “settle once and for all the debate on abrogation or repeal of Article 370”.
“We have always maintained that it cannot be touched, now it has the stamp of the judiciary as well. So people who keep taking up these issues (BJP) should know it can have very bad consequences in the state,” said party leader Nasir Aslam Wani, speaking to the Hindustan Times.
The BJP’s has traditionally stood for repealing Article 370 but has recently been silent on it, which many attribute to coalition dharma.