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Important constitutional question of legality of repeal of Article 370 be better left to Supreme Court: Ashok Bhan

Post by RK News on Tuesday, September 20, 2022

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New Delhi, Sep 19: Speaking with the Kashmiri Law students of Indraprastha University Colleges the eminent legal eagle and chairman-Kashmir (Policy and Strategy) Group Ashok Bhan Monday said, “Kashmir situation has wheels within wheels. It is enveloped in a dense opacity with layer upon layers of distortions of history, self-serving myths and competing political interests.
Peeling off these layers by revisiting history, without prejudice on the real issues involved can only help in a better way forward, Bhan said
Question is whether the Kashmiri’s political leadership is honest in its efforts to build a narrative that is in peoples’ interests, he asked.
In his lecture Bhan said that the PAGD is vocally demanding restoration of Article 370 and say that the abrogation is per se illegal and unconditional; Supreme Court is examining the constitutional validity of abrogation and simultaneously the Peoples’ Movement in Kashmir is also a challenge to legality of the abrogation.
On the other side Ghulam Nabi Azad who recently quit Indian National Congress after having been part of the UPA Government and Congress Working Committee for more than four decades has ventured to politically test his waters in JK Union territory for his political future. He launched a narrative that restoration of Article 370 is impossible as long as BJP is in power and till the anti BJP dispensation takes over the central government and muster two third majority in the parliament. Therefore, misleading people for an unachievable objective amounts to further compound the miseries of the common people, Bhan said.
Bhan said that on August 05, 2019 no constitution amendment bill was brought in Parliament or passed.  He said that on August 5,2019 the Government issued an order under article 370(1) superseding a similar order of 1954 and adding clause(4) to article 367 (the interpretation of article of the constitution).
On the same day the government brought a resolution before the parliament for the repeal of article 370 and it was passed by both houses under the proviso to Art.370 (3) of the Constitution. On the same day Government introduced and passed in Rajya Sabha -The Jammu & Kashmir (Reorganisation) bill 2029, bifurcating the State and creating two Union territories. It was passed by Lok Sabha on the next day. This was done under article 3 of the Constitution.
On August 6,2019,The President made a notification under article 370(3) of the Constitution declaring that all the clauses of article 370 shall as on 6th August 2019 cease to be operative except a sole new clause that was introduced by the same notification.
PAGD has a consistent ideological foundation for its demand for restoration of special status under Article 370 of the Constitution. It maintains this was the basis of constitutional arrangements between Kashmir and New Delhi supported and endorsed by the Constituent Assembly. Hence no compromise.
On the other hand Ghulam Nabi Azad conscientiously seemingly is raising a narrative on special status on realism, worldly wisdom and speaks the language of his heart. Some Congressmen are opposing Azad by spreading half-truths, Bhan said.
It is in public domain that half the CWC endorsed the abrogation of article 370 and the leadership maintained silence. It was Azad who spare headed the frontal attack on the government in Rajya Sabha and his G-23 colleagues in Lok Sabha -Manish Tiwari.
Kashmiris need to give Azad the benefit of vast political wisdom. He deserves a reasonable hearing by people in the country and particularly in JK Union territory, Bhan said.
People of the Jammu & Kashmir Union territory have a Hobson’s choice to choose their future political dispensation through democracy, he suggested, adding
“So better avoid competitive narratives on Kashmir's special status and article 370, it is fraught with making the ensuing election campaign murkier. When article 370 was brought, it was temporary because by that time the constituent assembly of Kashmir had not been constituted, and as such it had not met. Because the constituent assembly of Kashmir have taken a decision that Jammu & Kashmir shall be part of India and to have this kind of special status, they endorsed Article 370, and the constituent assembly got dissolved,” said Bhan.

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