In this blog, the author has discussed the impact of scrapping Article 370 which had to date allowed Jammu and Kashmir to have a separate administration. The author has in detail discussed the developments that have taken place in the state.
It all began when the ruling party on August 5, 2019, took a harsh and strict action by revoking article 370 through a presidential order. Article 370 of the Constitution of India conferred special status to Jammu and Kashmir allowing them to have a separate constitution, their flag and power to administer internally on their own. Thus, a separate autonomy was given to the State.
The abrogation of article 370 or turning it to be inoperative in nature lead to several criticisms as people failed to understand the motive of the government when they did so. Although this abrogation leads to a new beginning for the State. The scrapping of Article 370 will definitely bring drastic changes in Jammu and Kashmir in respect to social, economic, political, educational, and cultural aspects.
Evolution of Article 370 and its effects in Jammu & Kashmir
Earlier Jammu & Kashmir was a princely state dominated by the Muslim population and was governed by Maharaja Hari Singh. Most of the princely states had aligned themselves either with India or Pakistan, but the then ruler of Kashmir wanted to Kashmir to be independent. After the standstill agreement was signed with Pakistan, India still did not sign a similar agreement with Kashmir. When a partition related violence occurred between both the nations, Pakistan violently attacked Kashmir to join them, but at that time India helped them and saved the princely state. Thus, Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument Of Accession that aligned Kashmir with India. Also, later on, Kashmir was given special status under article 370 of the constitution Of India which guaranteed the independence and autonomy of the state.
Article 370 of the Indian constitution which is now revoked enshrined the following features for the state of Jammu & Kashmir:
1. Provision for a separate constitution and separate flag.
2. The name, territory or boundary of the state will remain unchanged until and unless the state legislature permits for the changes,
3. Special rights were granted to the permanent residents of the state for public employment, acquisition of property, settlement and government scholarship.
4. Directives principle of state policy, as well as fundamental duties, were not implemented in the state.
5. A financial emergency cannot be imposed in Jammu & Kashmir.
6. President rule can be applied only in the case of failure of constitutional machinery of the constitution of Jammu & Kashmir.
7. Part VI of the Indian constitution did not apply to Jammu & Kashmir.
8. Other powers were also in favor of the state except the powers to take decisions in the matter of defense, communication, and foreign affairs.
Changes that are likely to take place after the abrogation of Article 370
The foremost reason behind the revocation of Article 370 was the social scenario of Kashmir. The Member of European Parliament (MEP) also claimed that Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi had to act in this manner to curb terrorism and reduce severe acts of violence taking place in Kashmir by some armed groups and Pakistani based terrorist. The government firmly believe that taking this step will be a global stand against terrorism were the terrorist infringe the principles of democracy, harms the freedom of speech and exploit or violate human rights of the residents of Kashmir by imposing fear on them. Further, it is hoped by the government that inclusion of the state under the same constitution as enforceable in the entire country will ensure values of diversity, religious harmony, and fight against terrorism and will also create stability and security.
The revocation is likely to bring more rights to women. Article 370 implied gender biases towards women such as if a Kashmiri woman marries outside the State, she will lose her State citizenship, but now she can marry as per her will and still will be entitled to have Indian citizenship.
To develop infrastructure government has planned to host the G20 summit in the coming year 2022 in Srinagar. This will also help in developing tourist spots like Baba Amarnath shrine, Shri Shankar Acharya, and so on.
Since earlier under the provisions of the Article 35A, the non-residents of Kashmir were disallowed to purchase land and property, but after this article became inoperative, it allows the business tycoons to set up their business or multinational companies and firms in the state. This will boost up the economy of Jammu & Kashmir as well as India in the upcoming years. Further, the employment opportunities for the residents of Jammu & Kashmir will increase as people will now no more differentiate them as previously because of the special status granted to Jammu & Kashmir, people from other parts of India considered them unlike leading to lack of opportunities for them though being qualified for the job.
The abrogation has also led to increment in the number of Union Territories as Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir both are the newly formed Union Territories Jammu and Kashmir will have a Legislature and State government with more power conferred to the Lieutenant Governor. On the other hand, Ladakh will not have either of the Legislature or State Assembly and thus will be controlled by the Central Government. Jammu & Kashmir will follow the UT model of Puducherry and provisions of article 239A will also be applicable alike as Puducherry in J&K as well.
Earlier, under Article 370, a temporary provision in the Indian Constitution granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir which allowed them to have a separate constitution and flag, but now after the revocation, the State will have to adhere to the Indian Constitution.
Earlier, the Central Government was dependent on the state legislature to draft and enact laws, but now no longer any kind of approval is needed by the Central Government as the central laws will directly be applied to the State.
The State of Jammu and Kashmir have to now abide by the Right to Information Act or the RTI Act. Earlier before the revocation of Article 370, the State had the freedom to choose the law or act to be applied in the State.
Earlier, no private schools or colleges were set up in the State. It also reduced the filling of left vacancies in Public colleges as non-residents did not get aid and assistance from the State government. Now, academic opportunities will increase with academia being flourished in the State with a greater number of schools and colleges being set up.
Other Significant Changes That Can Take Place in Jammu & Kashmir
The government should also emphasize improving the health and education outcomes of the state. As the state has only 67% of the literacy rate improving the quality of education is a must.
The infant mortality rate is very near to 55% and other statistics in the domain of health also needs improvement. Thus health and education must be the top priorities of the government.
Though the granting of the special status of Jammu & Kashmir was marked by significant historical importance its revocation is also expected to be equally important for the state. The government is required to make a pivotal role in making laws and changes regarding the state with special care and caution. It will surely bring new changes in the state which will lead to a new beginning for the residents as well as the entire country.
A new beginning will not only create changes among the various aspects of life of the people of J&K but will also help India in building a new vision and moreover, strengthening the nation.
References:  Abrogation of article 370 will help curb terrorism, says European Parliament, India Today, Sept., 2, 2019.  Erin Blackemore, The Kashmir conflict: How did it start? National Geographic, Mar., 2019.  Namrata Kandankovi, Special status of Jammu & Kashmir, ipleaders (May 30, 2019).  CV Srikar, What’s next for Jammu & Kashmir, Campus Chronicle, Aug., 15, 2019.
Bharati Vidyapeeth New Law College, Pune.
(Images used for representative purpose only)