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J&K special status | Home Ministry pulls out original instrument of accession to support Article 370 move

Home Minister Amit Shah speaks during the resolution on Kashmir in the Lok Sabha on August 6, 2019.

Home Minister Amit Shah speaks during the resolution on Kashmir in the Lok Sabha on August 6, 2019.   | Photo Credit: PTI

‘Original Instrument of Accession was studied before decision was taken’

Officials in the Home Ministry fished out original copies of the “Instrument of the Accession” signed with 562 princely states during the time of Independence to make a legal basis for the amendment to Article 370 taking away the special status of Jammu & Kashmir.

The copies pulled out from the archival records were matched with the Instrument of Accession signed by Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of J&K, with India on October 26, 1947. “We matched the accession document of J&K with that signed with the other princely States, each and every word was the same,” an official said.

According to him, though the legal document was the same, Article 370 was only applied in J&K.

 

“The accession agreement was never an impediment for the merger of other States with India. This is what made it clear that Article 370 could be removed as it was not part of the original agreement,” he said.

The document was to accede in respect of only the following subjects — Defence, Foreign Affairs, Communications and ancillary that included matters related to courts and electtion.

On April 20, 1951, the Maharaja issued a Proclamation constituting a 75-member Constituent Assembly (CA) for the purposes of framing a Constitution for the State.

Home Minister Amit Shah has said in both the Houses of Parliament that Article 370 was “originally a temporary provision.”

“We have been doing the groundwork for the past two weeks. The move was taken after sound legal scrutiny,” said the official.

 

On Tuesday night, the President of India declaration that “all clauses of Article 370 shall cease to be operative in the State of Jammu and Kashmir” was notified in the gazette of India.

Congress leader Manish Tewari said in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that after J&K was attacked by the Pakistanis in 1947, Hari Singh sought India’s help.

“After J&K was attacked, Hari Singh decided that his future was in a secular India. He signed the Instrument of Accession, some promises were made...Article 370 and a separate constitution were part of it.”

Mr. Shah told the Lok Sabha on Tuesday that Article 370(3) provided the President the powers to amend or repeal the Article by issuing a notification, based on a recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of J&K and since it doesn’t exist any more, it would be read as the Legislative Assembly.

He added that since the Legislative Assembly of J&K was dissolved last year, its powers vested in both the Houses of Parliament.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 4:37:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/jammu-and-kashmir-ending-special-status-is-legal-official/article28872189.ece

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