Special Status to certain States – Article 370&371 of the Constitution
For the whole of the country, our Indian Constitution provides uniform rule. But there are certain regions of our country that are governed by special provisions. These provisions are laid down by the constitution to ensure special protection of the cultural identity and customs, the original inhabitants and the economic and political interests of these areas. One such state is Jammu and Kashmir. It is though a constituent state of Indian Union but the constitutional provision and its relation with the Central Government is somewhat different from other states and enjoys special autonomy which has been enshrined under Part XXI under article 370 of the Indian Constitution. According to this, no law passed and enacted by the Parliament of India with regard to the matters other than that related to the field of defence, communication and foreign policy will be extended in Jammu and Kashmir unless it is ratified by the state Legislature of Jammu and Kashmir. Subsequently, the jurisdiction of Supreme Court of India is extended accordingly.
The State was then acceded by the Indian Dominion by the then Maharaja Hari Singh who was the ruler of the State in 1947 when India was itself under flames of communal riots. It is also termed as Instrument of Accession. The Instrument of Accession is a legal document which was executed by the then Maharaja Hari Singh, who was the ruler of the princely state of Jammu and Kashmir on 26 October 1947. It was executed with the formal acceptance of the Governor- General of India for the accession of the Jammu and Kashmir including the princely states including Jammu and Kashmir Northern areas, Ladakh, Trans-Karakoram Tract and Aksai Chin to the Indian Dominion. The Preamble says that it was further stated that the power of Dominion to make laws was restricted to the matters related to defense, Foreign affairs and communications. Apart from these provisions, Jammu and Kashmir alone is an Indian state with its own flag and constitution. The flag was designed by the Maharaja featuring and symbolizing labor on red background. Moreover the Indian residents of other states cannot purchase property or land in the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
How the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir different from other states
The provisions that differ from other states are:-
- Separate Constitution- Jammu and Kashmir is the only state in India that has a separate Constitution which was adopted in the year 1956 on November 17th. But it came into force on 26th January 1957.
- 2. Parliament’s power- The legislative authority which relates to the dealing of the Union Parliament in respect of this State is limited to those matters in the Union List and Concurrent List which are declared by the President, in consultation with the government of the State to conform the term of Instrument of Accession.
- Emergency Provisions- In these states the power to grant emergency does not vest with the Union. Emergency cannot be proclaimed on the grounds of internal disturbance or imminent danger shall effect these unless following situations come into:
(a) When it is made at the request of the government of the state.
(b) Where it has not been made but has been applied by the President in concurrence of the government of that state.
- Fundamental Rights and Duties, Directive Principles of State Policy- Directive Principles of State Policy and the fundamental rights and duties are still not applicable in Jammu and Kashmir.
- High Court of Jammu and Kashmir- The high court of Jammu and Kashmir has very limited and restricted powers as compared the high courts of other states. That is it cannot state any law unconstitutional unlike other high courts of India under article 226 of the Constitution, writs except for the enforcement of the Fundamental rights cannot be issued.
- Official Language- Urdu is the official language of Jammu and Kashmir but use of English language is permitted to official purposes as the state legislature provides.
list of special status states in India
Apart from Jammu and Kashmir, there are certain other states too for the protection of which special provisions have been laid down under Indian Constitution.
- 371(a) states special provision with respect to state of Nagaland
- 371(b) states special provision with respect to state of Assam
- 371 (c) states special provision with respect to state of Manipur
- 371 (d) & (e) states special provision with respect to state of Andhra Pradesh
- 371 (f) states special provision with respect to state of Sikkim
- 371 (g) states special provision with respect to state of Mizoram
- 371 (h) states special provision with respect to state of Arunachal Pradesh
- 371 (i) states special provision with respect to state of Goa
The special provisions laid down for certain states by Indian Constitution is with an objective to preserve the old age customary practices, cultural identity, religious and social beliefs, the original inhabitants, the economic and social interests and land holding system of these areas. In case of Jammu and Kashmir, it is still not considered as a part of India as it is a disputed territory. Therefore, it has a separate constitution and has dominion of India only by virtue of Instrument of Accession. Kashmir was never a part of India in the history too. It is an independent nation and this is the only reason of tussle between India and Pakistan, related to recognition of Kashmir.
The State of Jammu and Kashmir which is a constituent unit of the Union of India has its relation with the Union with the governance of article 370 of the Indian Constitution. Despite of several efforts made by political parties, article 370 could not be made permanent yet. Therefore, article 370 of the constitution of India is still acting as an umbilical cord to link Jammu and Kashmir to India.