J&K Will See Elections As Union Territory, then Get Statehood: Top Govt Sources | Exclusive

J&K Will See Elections As Union Territory, then Get Statehood: Top Govt Sources | Exclusive
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Last Updated: December 11, 2023, 20:41 IST

Members of Rashtriya Bajrang Dal after the Supreme Court’s verdict upholding the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution, in Jammu on Monday. (PTI)

“The government has no issue in restoring the statehood for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). It was withdrawn at the time of abrogation of Article 370 over legal and technical issues. “Their laws were different from the rest of the country. Earlier, there was no provision for the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or property rights for women. The labour laws, too, were not at par with the rest of India,” top govt sources said

Jammu and Kashmir will be given complete statehood after the elections as a union territory, according to top government sources.

“The government has no issue in restoring the statehood for Jammu and Kashmir (J&K). It was withdrawn at the time of abrogation of Article 370 over legal and technical issues,” sources said.

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Explaining further, they said, “Their laws were different from the rest of the country. Earlier, there was no provision for the Indian Penal Code (IPC) or property rights for women. The labour laws, too, were not at par with the rest of India.”

“There were no voting rights for people who came here from Pakistan after 1947. There was no provision for them to become Members of Panchayat. To bring J&K at par with the rest of the country, the power was given to the Lieutenant-General and the Central government. After the reforms, the statehood can be given,” they said.

THE SC DECISION

The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously upheld its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution that bestowed special status upon the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, ordered restoration of statehood “at the earliest” and set a September 30, 2024 deadline for holding the assembly elections.

Settling the decades-long debate over the vexed constitutional provision, a five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud delivered three concurring judgements upholding abrogation of Article 370 that provided a unique status to Jammu and Kashmir when it acceded to the Union of India in 1947.

The apex court also upheld the validity of the union government’s decision to carve out the union territory of Ladakh from the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. CJI Chandrachud referred to Solicitor General Tushar Mehta’s statement that Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood will be restored, except for the carving out of the Union Territory of Ladakh. While splitting the state into two Union Territories, the government provided for legislative assembly only for the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.

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The petitioners had contended that Article 370 could not have been amended without the concurrence of the state’s Constituent Assembly that ceased to exist in 1957, and argued that the constitutional provision attained permanence in its absence. “We direct that steps shall be taken by the Election Commission to conduct elections to the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir constituted under Section 14 of the Reorganisation Act by September 30, 2024. Restoration of statehood shall take place at the earliest…,” the CJI said.

With PTI inputs

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