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Hours after the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 2019 was introduced yesterday, the Chairman of the Bar Council of India (BCI), Manan Kumar Mishra issued a statement congratulating the Modi-lead Union Government on its “historic and landmark decision to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution of India.”
The statement, issued by the “Statutory body representing the entire legal fraternity in India” goes on to express its open admiration for the government’s leaders, stating,
“This step could have been taken only by a bold, magnetic, daring, and unparalleled leader like Modiji being ably supported by other dynamic leaders like our Home Minister Shri Amit Shah ji. This step is a clear proof of the witness, foresightedness, dynamism and courage of our Hon’ble Prime Minister.”
The BCI statement signs off on the following ingratiating note.
“The Nation will remember Modiji and Amit Shah ji for all times to come. The debt of our forefathers and leaders and the common man who had lost their lives fighting for this cause has been repayed today.”
The Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 2019 provides that all provisions of the Constitution of India will apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, with a few exceptions and modifications.
The Order effectively states that the special status granted to the state under Article 370 of the Constitution would no longer stand, although Article 370 itself has not been scrapped per se. The Order was passed in accordance with the President’s power under Article 370(3).
The passing of this Order was criticised, as the reference to the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, as required under the proviso to Article 370(3), was dispensed with. The state is presently under President’s Rule.
The latest Order put an end to the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 1954, which had listed out provisions of the Constitution of India that would not apply to Jammu and Kashmir.
Among the provisions of the 1954 Order was that no Bill providing for increasing or diminishing the area of the State of Jammu and Kashmir or altering the name or boundary of that State shall be introduced in Parliament without the consent of the Legislature of that State.
The supersession of this 1954 Order also paved the way for the Centre to introduce the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 which seeks to declare J&K as a separate Union Territory with a Legislature. The Bill also provides for making Ladakh a Union Territory without a Legislature.
The Bill was passed yesterday evening in the Rajya Sabha, through a voice vote, with 125 members voting for the Bill and 61 voting against. The Bill is due to be taken up today in the Lok Sabha.
[Read the BCI Statement]