Bill on Jammu and Kashmir reorganisation not on firm legal grounds

Even as Parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill on Tuesday, some legal hurdles may arise with the legislation... 

Published: 07th August 2019 10:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 07th August 2019 10:01 AM   |  A+A-

Image of Parliament used for representational purpose (File Photo | Shekhar Yadav, EPS)

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Even as Parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill on Tuesday, some legal hurdles may arise with the legislation. 

The Bill that seeks to bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories was tabled without taking into account Article 3 of the Constitution which states that before Parliament can consider a Bill that diminishes the area of a state or changes its boundary, the Bill must be “referred by the President to the Legislature of that State for expressing its views thereon”. But the state has no elected government and was under President’s Rule. 

Article 3 is considered to be an essential safeguard of India’s federal system and was not followed in this case. 

In Parliament, Union Home Minister Amit Shah defended the move by saying that since the J&K Assembly was dissolved and the state is under Central rule, it is Parliament which gets to exercise the prerogatives of the Assembly.

Historically, only UTs have been made into states and no state has ever been demoted to a UT. The Supreme Court may be called upon to look into this aspect too, feels a section of legal experts. Except Assam and Meghalaya (which was a ‘state within a state’ before becoming a full-fledged state in1972), all states of the Northeast became states after being Union Territories for a long time. 
Himachal Pradesh, too, was separated from Punjab, made a chief commissioner’s province in 1948 and thereafter a UT in 1956. It became a full-fledged state in 1971. In the 1980s, there was another round of statehood status for UTs when Goa, Mizoram and Arunachal became full-fledged states.

All quiet in Jammu & Kashmir, say officials
Kashmir Valley remained peacefu and no untoward incident was reported from any of the three regions of Jammu, Ladakh and the Valley,  Director General of Police Dilbagh Singh said Tuesday.The law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir is “totally peaceful”, Singh said. Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Shahid Iqbal Choduhary said, people who have urgent work are being allowed to move despite strict restrictions.

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