The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has proposed in its Lok Sabha election manifesto to eliminate Article 370 of the Constitution. Article 370 gives autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
“In the last five years, we have made all necessary efforts to ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir through decisive actions and a firm policy. We are committed to overcome all obstacles that come in the way of development and provide adequate financial resources to all the regions of the state. We reiterate our position, since the time of the Jan Sangh, to the abrogation of Article 370,” the BJP Lok Sabha election manifesto reads.
The BJP manifesto also talks about annulling Article 35A of the Constitution of India. Article 35A provides special rights and privileges to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
The BJP manifesto says that the NDA government has made all necessary efforts to ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir and is committed to overcome all obstacles that come in the way of development in the state.
The BJP manifesto says that Article 35A is an obstacle to the development of the state and hence needs to go.
The BJP manifesto reads, “We are committed to annulling Article 35A of the Constitution of India as the rovision is discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir. We believe that Article 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state. We will take all steps to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for all residents of the state.”
The BJP also promises to ensure that Kashmiri Pandits who had to flee Jammu and Kashmir in the 1990s due to militancy would return safely and the government would also provide financial help to the refugees to settle.
“”We will make all efforts to ensure the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits and we will provide financial assistance for the resettlement of refugees from West Pakistan, Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) and Chhamb,” reads the BJP Lok Sabha election manifesto.
What is Article 370?
1. According to the Constitution of India, 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. Article 370 is drafted in Amendment of the Constitution section, in Part XXI, under Temporary and Transitional Provisions.
4. Under Article 370 the Indian Parliament cannot increase or reduce the borders of the state.
What is Article 35A?
1. Jammu and Kashmir’s permanent residents enjoy special rights under article 35A.
2. Only the permanent residents have the right to own immovable property, settle permanently, or avail state-sponsored scholarship schemes.
3. This article also restricts companies from hiring non-resident persons in the state and denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state.
4. Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by the orders of the then president Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet.
5. Since Article 370 (1) (d) of the Constitution was issued under Presidential Order, the President can make certain ‘exceptions and modifications’ to the Constitution for the benefit of ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
6. Hence, Article 370 of the Constitution grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, while Article 35A ensures special rights to the permanent residents of Kashmir.