Home Minister Amit Shah made two important announcements in the Parliament today. First, Article 370 stands revoked with immediate effect and second, Jammu and Kashmir will be divided into two halves with Ladakh as a separate Union Territory. The Centre on Monday scrapped Article 370 of the Constitution that grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, with an order saying “it shall come into force at once”. The abrogation follows the Centre introducing the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill in Parliament. Union Home Minister Amit Shah earlier today moved the Rajya Sabha, announcing the government has decided to repeal Article 370. Shah also said the government has decided to bifurcate the state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislature, and Ladakh, which will be without a legislature. The scrapping of Article 370 will have far-reaching repercussions on the restive state as the abrogation suspends the clause that allowed all laws to be first be ratified by the state assembly, which currently stands dissolved. President Ram Nath Kovind has exercised his power under Clause 1 of Article 370. The presidential order has done away sections under Article 35A, which gives special privileges to “permanent residents” of the state while defining the term “permanent residents”.
“Under Article 370 there is a provision that the President may by public notification declare that this article shall cease to be operative… from such date as he may specify… Because there is President’s rule, all decisions of the Assembly will be taken by the House, and we can pass the order with a majority,” Shah said in the Upper House. Article 370 laid down that except for matters related to defence, foreign affairs, communications and issues specified in the Instrument of Accession of Jammu and Kashmir, Parliament needs the state government’s ratification for all other laws. So far, residents of the state lived under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property and fundamental rights.