Union Home Minister Amit Shah has announced the scrapping of Article 370 of the Constitution, which provides a special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
In October 1947, the then Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, signed an Instrument of Accession that specified three subjects on which Jammu & Kashmir would transfer its power to the government of India:
1. Foreign affairs
In March 1948, the Maharaja appointed an interim government in the state, with Sheikh Abdullah as prime minister. In July 1949, Sheikh Abdullah and three other colleagues joined the Indian Constituent Assembly and negotiated the special status of J&K, leading to the adoption of Article 370. The controversial provision was drafted by Sheikh Abdullah.
What are the provisions of Article 370?
Parliament needs the Jammu & Kashmir government's approval for applying laws in the state — except in cases of defence, foreign affairs, finance, and communications.
The law of citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights of the residents of Jammu & Kashmir is different from the residents living in rest of India. Under Article 370, citizens from other states cannot buy property in Jammu & Kashmir. Under Article 370, the Centre has no power to declare a financial emergency in the state.
It is important to note that Article 370(1)(c) explicitly mentions that Article 1 of the Indian Constitution applies to Kashmir through Article 370. Article 1 lists the states of the Union. This means that it is Article 370 that binds the state of J&K to the Indian Union. Removing Article 370, which can be done by a Presidential Order, would render the state independent of India, unless new overriding laws are made.