Deceit & Farce have been the hallmark of Indian policy on Kashmir. The entire Indian political class, be it the ruling clique or the people in opposition, have been time and again , employing fallacious statements, half truths & delusive interpretations to mislead its own people and thwart the genuine political aspirations of people of J&K. And all this under the template of “National interest” with a colonial approach set in the default mode.
An aspect of this deceit was in full view when the leader of opposition in Indian Parliament, Sh. Arun Jaitley was in participation on debate over the LOKPAL bill which also contains provisions for establishment of LOKAYUKTS, a comparable version of LOKPAL, in Indian States.
Reacting to an innocuous query of fellow parliamentarian from Kashmir, Mohd. Shafi uri regarding applicability of LOKAYUKT Provisions to J&K, Sh. Jaitley responded that “Notwithstanding anything contained in the Constitution, Parliament has power to make any law———-.” So, notwithstanding Article 370, it (LOKPAL Bill) will apply to Jammu and Kashmir also-he said. In other words he wanted to convey his fellow parliamentarian and of-course, all those eagerly waiting to see Kashmir’s autonomy fully ambushed that since the source of the proposed LOKPAL bill was Article 253 of Indian Constitution, the provisions of Article 370 get automatically excluded. It needs to be mentioned here that article 253 was incorporated in the Indian constitution primarily to honor foreign treaties and to facilitate enactment of laws consistent with UN covenants. Since establishment of LOKPAL & LOKAYUKTS is a fallout of UN covenant on corruption, that is why article 253 has been invoked to enact law on LOKPAL.
incidentally Article 253 appears under Part XI, chapter 1 of Indian Constitution which comprises of Articles 245 to 255. The said chapter deals with the legislative relations between the Union & states .It is followed by Chapter II of the same part which comprises of articles 256 to 263. These articles deal with Administrative relations between the Union & States. It is worthwhile to have a look at Article 253, which reads as:
“Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this Chapter, Parliament has power to make any law for the whole or any part of the territory of India for implementing any treaty, agreement or convention with any other country or countries or any decision made at any international conference, association or other body”
A Plain reading of the article makes it abundantly clear that what is excluded by Article 253 from its application is only Articles 245 to 252(both inclusive),because only these eight articles can be said to be “foregoing provisions contained in Chapter I of part XI.” Article 370 dealing with the special status of J&K falls under an entirely different chapter of Indian constitution and is clearly unaffected by Article 253. Hence LOKPAL bill, which may be passed by Rajya Sabha in Budget session, as indicated by official sources, has no application on State of J&K, unless of-course, our State legislature accords it’s consent to the bill, the chances of which at present seem to be remote as stated by Chief Minster, Omar Abdullah. Whether that stand is because of any love for State’s autonomy & special status or a hatred for creation of an anti-corruption authority in his state, under the prying eyes of New-Delhi, remains to be seen.
What is indeed unfortunate is the role of UPA led by congress whose legal luminary Abishek Singhvi led a spirited point by point defense of the LOKPAL bill but failed to rebut Jaitley on his wicked interpretation of Article 253? It is here where , the people of J&K, are compelled to think and rightly so that politicians of all hues in New Delhi are hand in glove with each other to erect an epitome & write a final obituary on the state’s special status. It is though another matter that such policies have proved counterproductive in the past compelling people to rise against the state and demand complete independence.
(The author is a practicing chartered Accountant. Feed back at firstname.lastname@example.org)