What is Article 370? How does it make J&K different from other states of the country?

Drafted in Part XXI of the Constitution (Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions), article 370 of the Indian constitution was an article that gives special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, after its establishment, was empowered to recommend the articles of the Indian constitution that should be applied to the state or to abrogate the Article 370 altogether. After the J&K Constituent Assembly later created the state’s constitution and dissolved itself without recommending the abrogation of Article 370, the article was deemed to have become a permanent feature of the Indian Constitution.

Highlights of Article 370

  1. According to the Indian Constitution, Article 370 provides temporary provisions to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, granting it special autonomy.
  2. The article says that the provisions of Article 238, which was omitted from the Constitution in 1956 when Indian states were reorganised, shall not apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  3. In 1949, the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had directed Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah to consult Ambedkar (then law minister) to prepare the draft of a suitable article to be included in the Constitution.
  4. Article 370 was eventually drafted by Gopalaswami Ayyangar
  5. Ayyangar was a minister without portfolio in the first Union Cabinet of India. He was also a former Diwan to Maharajah Hari Singh of Jammu and Kashmir
  6. Article 370 is drafted in Amendment of the Constitution section, in Part XXI, under Temporary and Transitional Provisions.
  7. The original draft explained “the Government of the State means the person for the time being recognised by the President as the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers for the time being in office under the Maharaja’s Proclamation dated the fifth day of March, 1948.”
  8. On November 15, 1952, it was changed to “the Government of the State means the person for the time being recognised by the President on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly of the State as the Sadr-i-Riyasat (now Governor) of Jammu and Kashmir, acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers of the State for the time being in office.”
  9. Under Article 370, the Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state.

6 special provisions for Jammu and Kashmir in Article 370

  1. It exempted the State from the complete applicability of the Constitution of India. The State was allowed to have its own Constitution.
  2. Central legislative powers over the State were limited, at the time of framing, to the three subjects of defence, foreign affairs and communications.
  3. Other constitutional powers of the Central Government could be extended to the State only with the concurrence of the State Government.
  4. The ‘concurrence’ was only provisional. It had to be ratified by the State’s Constituent Assembly.
  5. The State Government’s authority to give ‘concurrence’ lasted only until the State Constituent Assembly was convened. Once the State Constituent Assembly finalised the scheme of powers and dispersed, no further extension of powers was possible.
  6. The Article 370 could be abrogated or amended only upon the recommendation of the State’s Constituent Assembly.

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