ARTICLES 370 AND 35A MYTHS AND FACTS
Q. Have Articles 370 and 35A been repealed?
A. Article 370 hasn’t been repealed; a presidential order has ‘diluted’ its scope, making the Indian Constitution and laws passed by Parliament applicable in J&K. However, Article 35A is now void—its provisions rested on the framework of Article 370.
Q. What is the current status of Article 370?
A. It remains, but is toothless. One if its own provisions—Clause 3—was used to nullify it. Clause 3 allows the President of India to modify provisions of Article 370, provided he has the consent of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the constitution of J&K. A presidential order on August 5 construed the reference to the Constituent Assembly as the Legislative Assembly of J&K; and as the legislative assembly is in suspension and J&K is under central rule, Parliament is deemed to have assumed the role of the legislative assembly. A statutory resolution by Parliament recommended that the President declare all clauses of Article 370 inoperative in the state.
Q. Can J&K retain its constitution and flag?
A. No. The state will now be subject to the Indian Constitution and fly the Indian flag.
Q. Will J&K have a chief minister?
A. J&K is now a Union territory like Delhi or Puducherry. It will have a legislative assembly and the leader of the single largest party or coalition will be chief minister. However, policing will remain with the Union government, and the Indian Penal Code will replace the former state’s Ranbir Penal Code.
Q. Can outsiders now buy property in J&K?
A. As it stands now, yes. Article 35(A) ensured only “permanent residents” are entitled to property rights, employment in state government, scholarships and other social benefits. With the deletion of this article, any Indian citizen from any part of the country will be able to buy property in J&K, take a state government job and enjoy state benefits such as scholarships. Children of a woman marrying outside Jammu and Kashmir will not lose property rights. The Centre, however, is believed to be contemplating laws along the lines of those in hill states like Himachal Pradesh limiting the types of land outsiders can purchase.