STATUS QUO ARTICLE 370
In a most recent development, HC Judge Who Ruled Article 370 is Permanent Named National Conference’s Candidate from Anantnag.Hasnain Masoodi, who retired from the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in January 2016, had in a landmark judgment said that Article 370 is beyond amendment, repeal or abrogation.
In October 2015, Justice Masoodi had ruled that Article 370, granting special status to the state, is permanent.
It is very pertinent to say that while hearing on this Article 370 in November 2018, the Supreme Court, said it will hear in April a plea challenging the validity of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gives special status to J&K following a request by the State and the Centre.
The bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, M R Shah, said they will hear the matter in the first week of April 2019 after Attorney General K K Venugopal, appearing for the Centre, sought adjournment on the ground that the current situation is very sensitive. “The political situation in the State is such that the matter should not be heard this time” he said.
Senior Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, advocate Shoeb Alam, appearing for J&K said that letter has been circulated seeking adjournment due to the ongoing nine-phase panchayat polls in the state. To this the sitting bench said that it can tag the matter along with a batch of pending petitions challenging Article 35A of the Constitution, under which special rights and privileges are granted to the “permanent residents” of the State.
The suggestion of the bench was opposed by the counsels for the state saying that the two issues are different entirely and the plea should not be tagged along with Article 35A pending petitions. The court was hearing an appeal filed by Petitioner Kumari Vijayalakshmi Jha, against the Delhi High Courts April 11th, 2017 order dismissing the plea seeking a declaration that ARTICLE 370 is temporary in nature.
The petitioner had claimed before the high court that ARTICLE 370, was a temporary provision that had lapsed with the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in 1957. The petition had said that the continuance of the temporary provision of ARTICLE 370 even after dissolution of Constituent Assembly of J&K and that of J&K Constitution, which has never got the assent of the President of India or Parliament or the Government of India, “amounts to fraud on the basic structure of our Constitution”.
This being on one side, let us see the impact-reactions, In the month of February 2019, Students of DS College, Aligarh, held a protest march against the dastardly attack in Pulwama and demanded the removal of Article 370 from Kashmir. Angry over the killing of CRPF jawans in Kashmir, the students said that giving a special status to J&K is the root cause of this problem. “Indian youths would side line PM Modi, if he does not consider their demand” said founder of Hindu Students Vahini, Aditya Pundit adding that the Nation is above the PM.
More or less at the same time, in Lucknow, in a unique form of protest, hundreds of members of an organisation called Awadhi Sena, locked themselves in the lock-up of Hazratganj Police Station, leaving police force puzzled. Despite the presence of plenty of police personnel, nobody tried to stop them as many witnessed the rare scene for the first time and were stunned. Those who arrived at the police station for complaints also stopped and watched the dramatic scenes that unfolded.
SHO Hazratganj, Radha Raman Singh, rushed to the scene and dispersed the enraged protesters. The incident reported occurred around 2.30pm when about 150 members of Awadhi Sena reached the Hazratganj police station, raising slogans of “Bharat Mata ki jai” and “Pakistan Muradabad” and entered the lock-up. The protesters said they were holding a protest at Parivartan Chowk for the removal of ARTICLE 370 from Kashmir Valley. However, when district administration officials asked them to leave and threatened them with action, they decided to lock themselves up in the Police station.
In February 2019, Shankaracharya, of Jyotish and Dwarka-Sharda Peeth’s, Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati also demanded revocation of special status of J&K, ARTICLE 370, for finding a permanent solution to the problem. The seer told, “Kashmir is an inseparable part of India and can’t be given up. Article 370 should be revoked”. “As BJP holds power in the Centre, Article 370 should be revoked. The Jana Sangh is in the root of BJP Government. Shyama Prasad Mukharjee, who was a Minister in the Congress regime, was the founder of Jana Sangh. It was Mukharjee who opposed the special status given to J&K and making Sheikh Abdullah Sadar-e-Riyasat (Chief of state). He had said that two systems could not run in one country, claimed the seer adding that Mukharjee was jailed in Kashmir where he had died.
Further targeting the BJP, the seer said, “Jiske virodh mein tumhare sansthapak ki mrityu hui hai, who kam tum kyon nahi karte? That is, why don’t you act or protest in the matter for which your founder had died? Remember the sacrifice of Mukharjee and abolish Article 370. He further added, Kashmiri Pundits should be rehabilitated in J&K. “Apne app samasya khatam ho jayegi, tarika to hai, par karte hi nahi ho aap”, that is the problem would be resolved by itself. There is a way, but you (BJP) are not doing it”.
This being the status quo, with the protests on the rise from different parts of the country, what remains to be seen, with the elections underway, whether the Supreme Court, given their attitude, by appointing a mediation team for the pending Ayodhya land dispute case, makes us tread with apprehension for the April hearing towards this REPEAL/REVOKE/ of ARTICLE 370. We have to consider the fact that no concrete decision can be taken, because of the sensitivity issue that, regarding any major decisive judgements made before the elections should not sway, lead people to cast their votes, based on those verdicts. It is also to be noted that, people have also been waiting for the impending justice. Buying time has always been the tactics, where nothing can be brought to a concrete finish and Supreme Courts hands tied?? Let’s wait and watch as to what happens in April 2019….
LET US HOPE THAT STATUS QUO AYODHYA, ARTICLE 370, GET THEIR DUE FAIR VERDICT THAT THEY DESERVE, IN CHANGING THEIR STATUS QUO FOREVER……...
VIJAYASHREE RAMESH, ADVOCATE & SOCIAL ACTIVIST.