In a recent major decision, Rajya Sabha passed the Reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir Bill, 2019 apparently scrapping Article 370 from the Constitution. On a basic note, Article 370 provided special provisions to Jammu Kashmir and its citizens. While the whole of the Indian Constitution was not applicable there and Jammu Kashmir was allowed to have their own constitution, the story will be a lot different now. But, not everything is what it looks like. Let’s find out why.
Can I Buy Land Or Property In Kashmir?
As per the article 35A of the Indian constitution defines the term permanent residents for the people of the state. So, it means that the people residing outside Jammu and Kashmir won’t be able to purchase any property in the state and only the people who have been issued the permanent resident certificate can be allowed to buy any land or property. According to the definition, permanent residents are those who were living in the state when the law came into existence and also those who have lived in the area for more than 10 years anytime since. Although, the recent turnout of the events indicates that now with the government scrapping the article, Indian residents outside Jammu and Kashmir can also buy any land or property in the region.
How To Buy Property In Kashmir?
To buy a property in Kashmir, one has to be qualified as a permanent resident under the article 35A since it gives special rights to only the permanent residents of the Jammu and Kashmir and prohibits the outside Indians. Though, after the Indian government’s decision to make the article inoperative, people from all over India will now be eligible to do an investment in any land or property in the state without qualifying for any pre-determined criteria. This also means that females who get married to any individual, not from Jammu and Kashmir will also be entitled to purchase land and get their right to property. As a result, real estate activities which were very minimal in the region before will now witness a steep increase in the prices as Indians are now enquiring about the property dealers and prices of lands in Jammu and Kashmir.
Before we jump on any of the technicalities of Article 370 and how our government took a perfect blow when the iron was hot, let us know what Article 370 was all about.
What Article 370 Is All About?
The article 370 of the Indian constitution gave the state of Jammu and Kashmir certain special powers and granted “autonomous status” to the state. This means that it was exempted from the Indian Constitution. So, the state had its own constitution, own flag and freedom to make its laws. Certain provisions abandoned Indian citizens to purchase any property in the region. Since its genesis, the article has gone through many amendments and transformations.
Where Did Article 370 Come From?
This article 370 came into existence in late 1947 when the then Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru and Sheikh Abdullah of Jammu and Kashmir giving its citizens special rights and legislation. The state has to follow a different constitution and can also debar Indians from other states to settle. Apart from this, the people of the state will enjoy special benefits in respect of jobs and the rights of purchasing land. This also gave a boost to various terrorist activities in the region as people are not exposed to business opportunities due to limited local businesses and brands.
But, Article 370 also stated that all the provisions with respect to Jammu and Kashmir were temporary and not permanent.
Provisions Under Article 370:
Some of the provisions of this article are mentioned in brief below:
- According to the article, except for defence, finance, and communications and foreign affairs, the government of India will require the state government’s approval for any other law. Moreover, the Indian government doesn’t have the right to impose a financial emergency in the state.
- It can declare an emergency only in case of war or external aggression.
- Females who married to another individual not belonging to Jammu and Kashmir won’t have the right to claim ownership of the property.
- The most important provision in the article states that any Indian from outside Jammu and Kashmir are not entitled to make any kind of investments in the land or property of the state.
Some Rights Under the Article to JK Citizens:
- The residents of the state enjoy two types of citizenship, one is Kashmiri citizenship and the other is Indian citizenship which is not allowed to any other citizen of India.
- The people of the Kashmir region are not bound to respect the national flag or save the cow or maintain the dignity of the women as part 4 and 4A of the constitution of India is not applicable in the state.
- Any type of amendment in the Indian constitution is not automatically applicable to Jammu and Kashmir unless a special order is passed by the Indian President.
- Lastly, only the permanent residents are permitted to apply for the jobs of the state government and get selected.
There are several upside and downside of the article depending upon their nature. Some of the provisions work in favor of the residents of the state as they get special rights under it and enjoy extra benefits. Some of the perquisites that the residents enjoy are dual citizenship, different flags or the fact that the highest court in India is not valid in the region. Moreover, More Job Opportunities are available for the people as only they are allowed to appear for the state government jobs.
While the People are benefitted from certain advantages, others face issues as there is hardly any manufacturing development in the region, less private hospitals as they are not allowed to set up their hospitals. Also, it is extremely difficult for outsiders to set up their businesses. Further, a high degree of terrorism is seen as the youth engage themselves in terrorist activities.
Historic Move By Modi Government:
After Decades of operation of the article 370, the historic move was made by the Indian Government when the Narendra Modi government decided to re-appeal the article which meant that the Jammu and Kashmir will no longer enjoy the special rights of being an autonomous state.
Now onwards, the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh can avail of several developmental opportunities they were denied for decades! This includes access to better education, laws to protect the marginalised sections of society, a life of greater dignity for women.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 8, 2019
But, if the move wasn’t as simple as it may seem. Clause 3 of Article 370 is where all the moved were played. Clause 3 stated that by a public notification the President shall declare that this article ceases to be operative but only with the recommendation and option of the Constituent Assembly. Now, Jammu Kashmir has been in the Governor’s rule which authorized the President of India to issue the Notification ceasing the provisions in Article 370.
All is not entirely changed yet. Article 370 has not been scrapped from its being as there has been no official notification of abrogation of Article 370 yet. Two official notifications that have been issued so far is The Presidential order and the Reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir Bill, 2019 which we’ll talk about later.
The Presidential Order states that the President, by the powers vested in him through Article 370 Clause 1, is passing a constitutional order in which the Constitution of India will now be applicable to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The important thing to understand here is that the government will now add another clause in Article 370 which will state that the term “Constituent Assembly” in clause 3 of Article 370 will be interpreted as “Legislative Assembly”.
So, the Order of 1954 has been superseded by the Order of 2019. This is the reason why the Indian Constitution will be applicable in Jammu Kashmir. And when the order which brought in the existence of Article 370 has been superseded, the article itself is no longer there.
Now, when we talk about the Reorganization of Jammu Kashmir Bill, 2019 we propose what will happen to Jammu Kashmir after the Presidential Order. The bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha with 125 members voting in the favor and 65 against it and then subsequently passed with the majority again in Lok Sabha.
The Bill divided the whole state of Jammu Kashmir into two separate Union Territories: Jammu Kashmir and Ladakh. The Jammu Kashmir will have its own Legislative Assembly with 107 seats including 24 vacant seats from PoK and would operate like Delhi and Pondicherry. Ladakh, on the other hand, will be directly administered by the center and will not have a Legislative Assembly.
After this, Jammu and Kashmir will now be governed by laws applicable to Indian citizens. This will help in setting up of more and more business units in the region which in turn will escalate employment and help prevent terrorist activities which are already in place in a massive amount. The women of the state will be able to marry any individual irrespective of their religion and status unlike before and it will give a boost to the economy directly and indirectly.
Lastly, the historic move made by the Indian government is attracting various love and hate both forms all over the world as political unrest has been increased in the region following the decision. The separatist leaders have become skeptical and trying to convince the people of the state against India but as for now the government of India seems to be prepared for it and have deployed military forces to control the state. Future will unfold with the various developments still happening in the country and the people are curious to know as to what path will it pave for the relations between the countries and India.