In a recent development, the Jammu & Kashmir People's Conference, led by Sajjad Lone, has presented a case before the Supreme Court of India, emphasizing that the nation is legally and constitutionally bound to uphold its commitment of "internal sovereignty" to the region. This commitment, rooted in the Constitutions of both India and Jammu & Kashmir, was established after the signing of the Instrument of Accession in 1947.
Represented by advocate Rajeev Dhavan, the party conveyed that Jammu & Kashmir differed from other princely states in terms of accession. Unlike these states, J&K did not undergo a merger agreement following the Instrument of Accession. Maharaja Hari Singh, who signed the Instrument of Accession amidst Pakistan-backed external aggression in October 1947, entered into a standstill agreement with Pakistan after the formation of India and Pakistan as two dominions.
Dhavan explained before a bench consisting of Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud and Justices Sanjay K Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, B R Gavai, and Surya Kant that Article 370 of the Indian Constitution was enacted to contain the substance of the merger and standstill agreements. There was no merger agreement between India and Kashmir, thus this action was taken. The goal here was to show respect for J&K's constitutionally protected right to self-government.
Additionally, Article 370's relevance in the Indian Constitution grew via common usage and acceptance over time. On January 26, 1957, Article 370 was enacted as part of the J&K Constitution, which reflected its substance and context. Subject to consent and consultation with the assembly, this constitutional article provides a framework for the implementation of Indian Constitutional provisions to the state.
The case argues that Article 370 of the Indian Constitution has become an integral part of the document over the course of decades. The Supreme Court's decision on this difficult case will certainly have far-reaching effects on Jammu and Kashmir's constitutional and historical standing.
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