PDP MLA sought amendment to the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution

An MLA from the Opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) moved a Bill seeking an amendment to the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution, which will pave the way for removing Section 3 that makes the State an integral part of India. However, Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone on Thursday informed Nizamuddin Bhat that his Bill was rejected and could not be admitted in the coming session of the Assembly, which starts from September 26.

Mr. Bhat said his intention was only to remove the restriction on amendment as envisaged in Section 147 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution. He clarified that he did not bring an amendment to remove Section 3 or Section 5. The latter deals with the extent of legislative and executive powers of the State.

Mr. Bhat said the Speaker told him that “due to Section 3, the legislature is restrained from making changes in the present constitutional arrangement, which is in direct conflict with the political utterances on Kashmir's future status and the space needed for dialogue to reshape the relation of State with the Union of India for any future settlement,” Mr. Bhat said.

Clause (b) of Section 147 of the State Constitution provides the procedure for amending Section 3 and Section 5. “That means Section 147 governs these sections,” he said.

The PDP distanced itself from the Bill saying that it would never challenge the accession and “it is a member's individual decision.”

“The member moved it in his individual capacity and without prior intimation to the party leadership,” PDP chief spokesman Naeem Akhtar said.