The Narendra Modi government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir in 2019 by abrogating Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. After that, one case after another started challenging this decision. All cases are heard. After the hearing, the Supreme Court of India said on Monday that Jammu and Kashmir should be given the status of a full-fledged state. Elections should be held by September 30, 2024.
These cases were made to return the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. The case challenges the Modi government’s decision. But on Monday, the court ruled in favor of the Modi government. The judgment said that the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was taken as a ‘temporary’ decision for special needs. For this reason, the decision taken by the government to cancel Article 370 in 2019 is completely legal.
The Supreme Court says that the special rights given to Jammu and Kashmir in Article 370 are temporary. Even after the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly of Kashmir, the President had the right to abrogate that clause. Because of this, what has happened is not unconstitutional.
In this judgment, the court directed the Center to grant the status of a full-fledged state to Jammu and Kashmir. Apart from this, the Election Commission has been directed to organize the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir by September 30, 2024 with the status of a state.
After this verdict, there is no possibility of getting back the special status that Article 370 gave to Jammu and Kashmir. And the Pakistan border area is going to lose some of its status forever.
How was this Kashmir born?
According to the British media BBC, Kashmir was divided into two after an attack by ‘tribal’ fighters in October during the partition of the country in 1947. Three-fourths of the then population of Kashmir were Muslims. Their ruler was Hari Singh. Unable to prevent this attack, he sought the intervention of the Indian government.
And at that time, a historic agreement was made between the government of Kashmir and India. Hari Singh, the ‘independent’ ruler of Kashmir, expressed interest in becoming part of India. And ask for help in countering this attack. A famous treaty was signed. Because of that agreement, there has been so much conflict and bloodshed over Kashmir.
After a treaty with Hari Singh, Indian forces forced the invaders to leave the city. Indian forces occupied the entire Kashmir Valley. But some parts of Kashmir remain under the control of Pakistan. Within a few months, a war broke out between India and Pakistan over Kashmir, dividing the state into two. That conflict is still seen from time to time.
The special status that Kashmir got
After 1947, Jammu and Kashmir was granted special status under a law known as ‘Article 370’ of the Constitution of India. The central government of India had no right to interfere in Jammu and Kashmir except in matters of defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications.
Indian media Anandbazar Online says that the Parliament had no right to make any laws in Jammu and Kashmir. Consent of the state had to be taken to enact laws. Apart from that, Jammu and Kashmir also had separate flags.
The Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly could decide who is a permanent resident of the state and who is not. No one could buy land in Kashmir except as a permanent resident. Even a non-permanent resident could not apply for a job in that state. Couldn’t even vote. A woman who is a permanent resident of the state was deprived of property rights if she married a foreigner.
370 ‘elimination’ in two shocks
Article 370 of the Constitution was withdrawn from Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August 2019. Due to him the special status of Jammu and Kashmir is gone. The state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into two Union Territories. The government is doing the same in Ladakh. Then the region became hot.
Indian government is in trouble with Jammu and Kashmir. Several cases were filed in the Supreme Court of India against the decision to remove this region from the special status and make it a union. Proceedings of these cases against Article 370 abrogation are also going on in court.
In the meantime, the court asked the government last August, how long will Jammu and Kashmir be kept as a union territory? Does the government have any plans for this?
Due to this reason, the special status of Kashmir is discussed again. However, ending all speculations, the Supreme Court of India said in its verdict on Monday that although special status was given to Jammu and Kashmir in Article 370 of the constitution in 1950, that status was not permanent. The President can withdraw that ‘special status’ if he wants. The Modi government withdrew the ‘special status’ in 2019 by using that power of the President.
A five-judge constitutional bench led by Chief Justice DY Chandrachud said in its verdict that Article 370 was abrogated from the moment the President signed the directive.
On August 5, 2019, the then President Ram Nath Kovind issued the necessary instructions in this regard. Even standing in the Rajya Sabha, Home Minister BJP leader Amit Shah claimed that the special status of Kashmir was a temporary arrangement.
Who reacts to what?
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi termed Monday’s verdict on Jammu and Kashmir as historic. In a response on social media X (Twitter), he wrote, ‘Today’s verdict on the abolition of Article 370 by the Supreme Court is historic. This verdict gave a new hope. This judgment has taken another step towards the development and progress of our brothers and sisters living in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The court spoke about the unity of Indians above everything.
Modi writes, ‘I want to assure the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh once again that I am determined to fulfill your dreams. This judgment is not just a legal judgment, it is a beacon of hope, a promise of a bright future, a testament to our collective resolve to build a strong and united India.’
However, former Chief Minister of Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, the leader of the National Conference said that he was disappointed with this verdict. He said, ‘We approached the Supreme Court to get justice. We respect the Supreme Court. But the efforts will not stop there. Whether we will come to the court again, will be informed in due course later.’
Lawyer Kapil Sibal, the leader of the Indian Congress, said, “You have to fight some battles even knowing that you are going to lose.” Although some things in history are uncomfortable, they need to be recorded for future generations. What is right, what is wrong – will be a longer discussion. In the end, history will have the final say in judging historical decisions.’
Analysts say the withdrawal of special status could have a major impact on the demographics of Jammu and Kashmir. Especially with changes in land ownership, demographic changes can occur in the region, which can become a determinant of the outcome of the regional assembly elections. Earlier, there was an attempt to influence the electoral results through redistricting in the region. As a result, the changes in the administrative structure of the region due to the cancellation of the special status may have a direct impact on its political and economic trajectory. There is also the military reality.