The Narendra Modi government on Monday scrapped Article 370 that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir and moved a separate bill to bifurcate the state into two separate union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
The Rajya Sabha passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill on Monday.
Home Minister Amit Shah moved the resolution on Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019 in the Rajya Sabha amid massive uproar by opposition parties. He informed the House that President Ram Nath Kovind had signed the official notification abrogating Article 370.
As soon as Shah made the announcement, members of the Congress, TMC and DMK squat on the floor of the House, one of the PDP members tore his clothes and then along with another PDP member tore copies of the Constitution, prompting Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu to order that they be physically removed.
Shah, who received a standing ovation from his party colleagues when he entered the House minutes before proceedings in the Rajya Sabha commenced, termed the move as “historic”, saying Article 370 had not allowed integration of Jammu and Kashmir with the country.
Shah said Article 370 would no longer be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.
What happened in the House?
When the House met, Naidu said he had used his discretionary powers to waive the requirement of the government to give advance notice and circulate a bill as the issue was of urgent national importance.
Leader of the Opposition and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said he wanted the situation in Kashmir to be discussed first but Naidu allowed Shah to move the resolution.
Shah moved the resolution to abolish Article 370 as well as the state reorganisation bill along with listed bills to extend the reservation for economically weaker sections in educational institutions and government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir.
The reorganisation bill provides for the formation of the union territory of Ladakh without legislature and a separate one for Jammu and Kashmir with legislature.
While Naidu said only the bill for providing reservation is being moved now and the other (reorganisation bill) would be done after it is circulated to members, the House in a voice vote approved the introduction.
So, later, Naidu allowed Shah to re-introduce the resolution and the reorganisation bill, saying copies have now been circulated to members.
Shah said Article 370 was always temporary and past governments did not remove it because of lack of political will and vote bank politics.
“It is not true that Jammu and Kashmir joined India because of Article 370,” he said.
Shah in his resolution said, ”...the President, on the recommendation of Parliament, is pleased to declare that, as from 5th of August, 2019, all clauses of the said article 370 shall cease to be operative except clause (1) thereof.”
“All provisions of this Constitution, as amended from time to time, without any modifications or exceptions, shall apply to the State of Jammu and Kashmir,” it read.
During the discussion, SP’s Ram Gopal Yadav asked the Deputy Chair whether Article 370 could be repealed without amending Constitution.
Amit Shah stepped in to say that provision 370(3) within Article 370 provided that the President had the power to bring out a public notification to cease Article 370, but only on the recommendation of Constitution Assembly.
In the notification that the President issued on Monday morning, Shah said that Constituent Assembly meant the state assembly.
Since Jammu and Kashmir was under President’s Rule, all powers of the state assembly are vested in the Parliament. Therefore, the Parliament could pass a resolution to abrogate Art 370, Shah said.
He also said, “This is not the first time Article 370 has been amended. Congress in 1952 and 1962 amended it through a similar process.”
Article 370 of the Constitution granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir whereby provisions of the Constitution which are applicable to other states are not applicable to J&K.
As per this article, except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, Parliament needs the state government’s concurrence for applying all other laws. It was introduced in the Constitution on October 17, 1949.
(With PTI inputs)