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Article 370: All you need to know about Kashmir's special status

AP/PTI/New Delhi
Filed on August 5, 2019 | Last updated on August 5, 2019 at 04.32 pm
Article 370, India, Jammu and Kashmir, Kashmir., Pakistan

Here's a look at what the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution says.

India's government has proposed revoking the special constitutional status of its portion of Kashmir, amid a heavy security crackdown in the Himalayan region.

The constitutional provision forbids Indians from outside the region from buying land or permanently settling in the territory.

What is Article 370?

This is a 'temporary provision' that serves the purpose of granting special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir, and makes special provisions for the state that are not applicable to other states.

Kashmir's special status

Article 35A of India's constitution permits the local legislature in Kashmir to define permanent residents of the region. The article came into being in 1954 by a presidential order under the constitution's Article 370, which grants special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir state.

Article 35A forbids Indians from outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs or winning education scholarships in the region.

The article, referred to as the Permanent Residents Law, also bars female residents of Jammu and Kashmir from property rights in the event that they marry a person from outside the state. The provision also extends to such women's children.

While Article 35A has remained unchanged, some aspects of Article 370 have been diluted over the decades.

Critics of Article 35A say the provision did not have parliamentary sanction, and that it discriminates against women.

How did Article 35A come about?

A 1927 order by the administration of the state of Jammu and Kashmir gave the state's subjects exclusive hereditary rights. Two months after India won independence from British rule in August 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh, the then-ruler of Jammu and Kashmir, signed a Treaty of Accession for the state to join the rest of the union, formalised in Article 370 of the Indian constitution.

Further discussions culminated in the 1952 Delhi Agreement, a presidential order that extended Indian citizenship to the residents of the state but left the maharaja's privileges for residents intact.

How can it be repealed?

Article 370(3) of the Indian constitution permits revocation of the law by presidential order. However, such an order must be introduced before the state's Constituent Assembly. Since that body was dissolved in 1957, experts have different views on the abrogation of the law, with some believing it needs approval by state lawmakers and others seeing a presidential order as sufficient.

The validity of Article 35A has been brought before India's Supreme Court. Bharatiya Janata Party members have said that if the court upholds the provision, the Modi-led government will revoke it by presidential order.

What could happen if it's scrapped?

If Kashmir's special status is repealed, people from the rest of India would have the right to acquire property in Jammu and Kashmir and settle there permanently. 


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