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Article 370 & 35 A Scrapped: The Joy of Being United

Author: Astha Srivastava [Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, New Delhi]

Eventhough, being a part of India, Jammu & Kashmir has always been considered as an integral with some special provisions.

After Years of Struggle, to give the state of Jammu & Kashmir an equal status as any other state, the news has finally come that Article 370 in Part XXI & 35A of the Constitution of India has been scrapped down. Today, Home Minister Amit Shah has presented The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Second Amendment) Bill, 2019 in the Rajya Sabha. The Bill has already been passed by the Lower House on 1 July.

Before understanding the changes made after the bill had been passed, the earlier situation needs to be understood.

Article 370, a nation divider:

Under this Article, the residents of the state of Jammu & Kashmir were governed by a separate set of laws. The main among them were Citizenship, Ownership of Property and Fundamental Rights. Also, the Centre has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360. Emergency in the state of Jammu & Kashmir by the centre could only be declared in case of war & external aggression.

It was included in the constitution in the year 1954 during the session of the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Article 35 A, defines Residents or categorise them?

Article 35 A of the Constitution of India, allowed the state legislature to give the definition of who the “Permanent residents” are and to provide them with special rights and privileges. This article is also known as Permanent Residents law.

After Article 370 & 35A revoked: One Nation, One Flag & One Constitution

The Articles being scrapped down has brought a whole new set of changes among the residents as well as non-residents of the state. It had made the whole of India to be governed by One Constitution. The major changes that had come alongwith the changed law are:

  • Citizenship: The citizens of J & K earlier had two types of citizenship, i.e., Indian and Kashmiri citizenship. Under Indian Constitution, single citizenship has to be granted to everyone. Now, the people of J & K are also covered under the same.
  • Purchase of Property: Till date, except residents of J & K, others could not own any property in the state. After Art. 35 A being scrapped, it is now open for all.
  • Same Citizenship of women marrying non-kashmiris: If Kashmiri woman marries an Indian, then her Kashmiri citizenship terminates. This was provision of earlier law. The Citizenship status of Women marrying a non-kashmiri will now remain same.
  • Education and Employment Opportunities: With the scrapping of both the Articles, a new way in the field of Education and Employment has opened up. Earlier, Article 35A did not granted any other person than the state residents to participate in any govt. Jobs. Only the central quota-laws like being applied in any other Indian state would be used.
  • Status of Union Territory: The state of Jammu and Kashmir will have same status as that of Union Territory of Delhi and Puducherry. Also, the Governor General of J & K will now be the Lieutenant Governor.
  • Division of the Territory: The state of J & Kashmir is now divided into two Union Territories: Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. The Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature, while that of Ladakh will be without any Legislature.

Finally, a history of separation has changed and now the whole country is united into one.

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