For the past sixty seven years, the State Subject law has been an eye sore for a group of politicians of particular mind-set in the State.
From agitation politics to all kinds of Machiavellian tactics in connivance with a section of bureaucracy have been adopted to erode, defeat and annul this law.
The law was promulgated by Maharaja Hari Singh , ‘in the best interest and welfare of the State’. Notwithstanding, oppressive tendencies of the last Maharaja a legal luminary of the state, Ghulam Shah in his book, ‘State Subjectship in Jammu and Kashmir,’ hailing his administrative capability writes about this law, ‘One good feature of the scheme was that it kept the entire population of the State bound by a common bond in a compact society despite its heterogeneous composition.
It also identified people of Jammu and Kashmir State as a distinct class from those living in neighbouring areas. In retrospect, it is appreciated that it was well conceived and wise administrative decision to inculcate sense of patriotism amongst the people and to give them an identity of their own.’
After 1947, the new dispensation in the state annulled many laws of the feudal and autocratic rule. Nonetheless, the State Subject law being in the interest of the people of the state after prolonged debates and deliberations in “the State Constituent Assembly” was incorporated it in the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir at Part III.
The law which also came to be known as the ‘Permanent Residents law’ in its section (2) very recognizes even those people who have migrated to Pakistan in 1947 as the state subjects and reserves their right to return to the State. Even, the Constitution of India has armoured this law under its provision of 35 A. In the rage of debate over Mulki Rules enforced by Nazim, when some politicians tried to compare State subject law to this law and quoted the Supreme Court judgment that had knocked down Mulki Rule, the Article 35 -A put to end to such debates.
This law also draws its strength from the Article 370. Despite drum beating by the Sangh Parivar about its abrogation, this article as was amply made clear by Ayyengar in the Indian Constituent Assembly is there to remain, till Kashmir Dispute is resolved.
To quote Balaraj Puri, ‘The Constituent Assembly of India or its successor parliament had no constitutional right to abrogate or modify Article 370. This right belonged solely to the Constituent Assembly of the State. Even the law minister of BJP-led NDA government under Vajpayee, Ram Jethmalani; conceded that the parliament had no right to abrogate Article-370. A.G. Noorani and couple of other jurists have strongly argued even the State Assembly had no such right to abrogate it.’ (Kashmir Insurgency After)
Knowing fully well that the State Subject Law which is fully fortified even in the Constitutions of India cannot be abrogated these politicians have been adopting one after another treacherous tactics to defeat this laws. More than obvious, the objective behind these devious moves has been to change demography of the State.
From PM Mehr Chand Mahajan’s time, the RSS and all its offshoots have actively been involved in changing the demography of the state. A Jammu scholar Luv Puri records in Jammu District alone 37 percent of population was Muslim by 1941 and by 1960 it had come down barely to ten percent. He writes that around fifteen lakh migrants with IAJK linkage are living in Pakistan. (Across the LoC).
It was not only Sangh leadership that was interested in changing demography of the state, even Nehru’s hands are stained. In early fifties when both Americans and Soviet Union supported right to self-determination for Kashmir, Nehru was convinced in case a plebiscite is held, decision will not go in India’s favour, so he stoked the fires of the Praja Parishad agitation.
History is replete with instances, when efforts were made to defeat the State Subject through hideous methods. One of the examples, is launching of a housing society by some powerful non-state subject All India Service Officers for constructing of houses on ownership basis in the State. This project was aimed at creating for eroding sanctity of the law and creating a precedence.
It was but for media and some senior state subject officers that move met its waterloo before it could cause a damage. In 2011, during the Congress-NC alliance government yet another devious move of issuing Dogra certificate was made with the sole objective of giving citizenship rights to the non-state subjects in violation of Permanent Residents law. The move had caused serious reaction across the political divide in the state. Had not the government stopped issuance of this certificate it could have brought state to a dangerous precipice.
In keeping with the BJP election manifesto of giving the State Subject status to the 1947 refugees from West Pakistan now another sinister move of giving PRCs to children at school has been started to execute the agenda.
The reports suggest hundreds of PRCs have already been distributed to some children in Jammu. The malafide practice of distributing the PRCs at schools not only is in violation of the laid down procedures but also illogical. Since introduction of the State Subject law there has been no change in procedure for issuance of the certificate.
After meticulous scrutiny the certificate was issued by the Wazir Wazarats and after 1947 it became interchangeable with the Deputy Commissioners. ‘But the competence for issuing the certificate continued to be restricted to Deputy Commissioners and above.
The certificate is required at the time of seeking a government job or buying immoveable property, so by all stretch of imagination issuing PRCs to school children is being done with malafide intention.
The apprehensions are not uncalled for that the issuing of the certificate at schools is a modus operandi for giving state subject to non-state subjects for changing demography of the state.
The government needs to come clean on the subject and cancel all the certificate issued at school level without delay. One could understand BJP ministers hideously pursuing their election manifesto for strengthening their vote bank in WPR.
But, complicity of the PDP in this illegal exercise smacks conspiratorial.