When Ram Jethmalani explained Article 370 to PM Narendra Modi in 2014

Ram Jethmalani, in November 2014, had stated that the successive state governments in Jammu and Kashmir never raised any objections to modifications made to the Article from time to time.

Published: 08th September 2019 02:15 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th September 2019 02:15 PM   |  A+A-

PM Narendra Modi and eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani

PM Narendra Modi and eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani (Photo | PTI)

By Online Desk

Eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani in November 2014 said Article 370, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was part of the Constitution's basic structure which "nobody can touch" and claimed BJP was "quiet" on it as he had explained its importance to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

"Article 370 is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution because we have incorporated it in accordance of the wishes of the then Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir. It is now a final article which nobody can touch. It is the understanding of the Kashmir Committee that this kind of a thing (repealing of Article 370) is out of question," Jethmalani had told reporters in Srinagar on November 8, 2014.

However, then Rajya Sabha MP had stated that the successive state governments in Jammu and Kashmir never raised any objections to modifications made to the Article from time to time.

"There were no objections from JK government ever to any modifications on Article 370. If you do not like any amendments, vomit it out, but democratically," he had said.

VIEW GALLERY: Here are 10 high profile cases handled by eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani

The former BJP leader, who was expelled from the party on May 2014, said he had explained the importance of the Article 370 to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP has "kept quiet" about it since then.

"BJP was always talking about Article 370, some of them don't even understand the Constitution of India at all. Modi has been explained the importance of Article 370 and that it cannot be repealed. I have told him to explain it to the BJP people to not speak about it. The BJP has kept quiet.

"Unfortunately, when they came to power, a minister, who is from Jammu, talked about its repeal and please take it that Modi gave him a tongue-lashing and told him that never again talk about it. He has since then not talked about it," he had stated.

In a decision with far-reaching implications, the BJP-led Centre on August 5, 2019 scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and converted the border state into a Union Territory with a legislature, implementing the long-held agenda of the party and its predecessor, Jan Sangh.

The state was also bifurcated by carving Ladakh region from the state and making it into a Union Territory without a legislature.

Ram Jethmalani passed away on Sunday at the age of 95. He breathed his last at 7.45 am at his official residence in New Delhi.

What is Article 370?

Article 370 of the Indian constitution gave autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir until a few hours ago. The article was drafted in Part XXI of the Constitution: Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions. The NDA government scrapped it through a presidential order which helped them bypass the need for a two-thirds majority in Parliament. 

Why has the government sought to revoke Article 370?

A: Because Article 370 of the Constitution extended temporary provisions to Jammu and Kashmir and gave it special autonomy unlike other states of the Indian Union.

B: The special provision to Jammu and Kashmir also ensured that Article 238 of the Constitution, which was omitted in 1956 when states were reorganised, will not be applicable to the state.

C: In 1949, Article 370 was drafted by Gopalaswami Ayyangar, a minister without portfolio in Nehru's cabinet, in Amendment of the Constitution section, in Part XXI, under Temporary and Transitional Provisions. 

ALSO READ: Abrogation of J&K's special status 'aggression on state' - NC on Article 370

D: On March 5 1948, the original draft explained: "the Government of the State means the person during that time recognised by the President -i.e. the Maharaja of Kashmir who was acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers". 

E: On November 15, 1952, it was changed to the 'Government of the State' -- meaning the person for the time being recognised by the President on the recommendation of the Legislative Assembly of the State as the Sadr-i-Riyasat (Governor) of the state.

Article 370 gave the following rights to residents of J&K

  • Jammu & Kashmir's area, name and boundary could not be altered without the consent of the state legislative assembly.

  • The Union government had to get approval from the state government to implement laws except for defence, foreign affairs and communication.

  • J&K had two flags - the Tricolour and the state flag of Kashmir.

  • The citizens of other Indian states could not buy any property or kind of any property in this state. It meant the fundamental right to property is still in force in this state.

  • The people of Jammu and Kashmir had two types of citizenship. One is Indian citizenship and another is Kashmiri citizenship. No Indian from any other state could have two citizenships simultaneously.

  • Directive Principles of State Policy were not applicable in this state.

  • The Centre could impose national emergency in the state on the basis of internal disturbance only after taking the permission of state government.

  • This could have been done under two conditions only - war and external invasion.

  • The President of India did not have the power to declare a financial emergency in the state.

  • Only residents of Kashmir could be selected for state government jobs.

(With inputs from PTI and ANI)

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