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news details
Constituent assembly is never a permanent institution
Debate on J&K's separate status
8/28/2018 11:25:38 PM
Early Times Report
Jammu, Aug 28: Jammu & Kashmir is passing through a critical phase. The regional and communal divide in the state is almost complete with the votaries of separate status and integrationists taking on each other and seeking to defeat each other. What has made the situation in the state volatile is the insistence of the Kashmiri leadership that New Delhi just can't abrogate the provisions that accord special status to the state as there is no constituent assembly in place in the state and that the constituent assembly alone has the power to alter or not to alter the political status of the state.
All the Kashmir-based parties, including National Conference, People's Democratic Party, the Congress, social organizations and academics in Kashmir, have been expressing the same view. The view is flawed. Constituent assembly is never a permanent institution. Constituent assembly is constituted to frame and adopt constitution and once the constitution so framed and adopted is enforced, constituent assembly ceases to exist. It happened in the state as well. The Jammu & Kashmir Constituent Assembly, which was essentially unrepresentative in character as 73 out of 75 members were elected unopposed because the nomination papers of all the candidates were rejected by the Sheikh Abdullah administration, adopted Jammu & Kashmir Constitution in November 1956. It was enforced on January 26, 1957.
The argument that New Delhi can't change the political status because the Jammu & Kashmir Constituent assembly has ceased to exist can't hold water because the Jammu & Kashmir Constitution, like the Indian Constitution, contains provision which empower the state government to amend the constitution anytime it wants to meet the exigencies of the time and needs of the people. The Indian Constitution has been amended 101 times, and there was no constituent assembly as it ceased to exist on January 26, 1950, when the Indian Constitution so framed and adopted was applied. Similarly, the Jammu & Kashmir Government amended the Jammu & Kashmir Constitution umpteen times and it amended the constitution despite the fact that there was no constituent assembly in existence. So much so, Sheikh Abdullah increased the life of the assembly from 5 to six years in 1976 by partially adopting the 42nd amendment to the Indian Constitution.
Even otherwise, the Kashmiri argument is flawed. For, the Supreme Court of India only last year ruled that "Jammu & Kashmir Constitution was subordinate to Indian Constitution, as Jammu & Kashmir is an integral part of India".
The point is that the vested interests in Kashmir are misleading the people of the Valley by misrepresenting the facts. It is the Indian Parliament, not the Jammu & Kashmir assembly, which is supreme.
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