For Article 370 withdrawal, Arun Jaitley pitches in from sabbatical
The government’s explainer note circulated to the media today also quoted Arun Jaitley’s arguments on Article 370, signalling that though he may have opted out of government in Modi 2.0 due to health reasons, he was still actively involved in executing major decisions.Updated: Jun 10, 2020, 01:16 IST
The withdrawal of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, apart from being a project executed by Home Minister Amit Shah, also saw the active involvement of former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, who has been working on this since last year. The government’s explainer note circulated to the media today also quoted Arun Jaitley’s arguments on Article 370, signalling that though he may have opted out of government in Modi 2.0 due to health reasons, he was still actively involved in executing major decisions.
Leaders in the know told Hindustan Times that when Arun Jaitley was recuperating last year from his kidney transplant, he had time to focus on some reading and research. At that time, he re-read `My Frozen Turbulence in Kashmir’ (1986), a book penned by Sanjay Gandhi’s handpicked bureaucrat who was the Governor in J&K Jagmohan during 1984-1990. Jagmohan, who later won the national elections from the New Delhi seat, had written against Article 370 in the book saying: “Article 370 is nothing but a breeding ground for the parasites at the heart of the paradise. It skins the poor. It deceives them with its mirage. It lines the pockets of the ‘power elites’”.
Informed leaders told HT that the idea of taking the route of section 3 of Article 370, whereby “the President may, by public notification, declare that this Article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify: Provided that the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the State referred to in clause (2) shall be necessary before the President issues such a notification,” was being worked on for the past two months.
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While many legal opinions were taken, Jaitley also provided his own backing of the theory that the Article 370 was temporary and could be reversed with a Presidential order.
“And Clause 3 of Article 370 makes it clear that Article 370 can be revoked if a Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir is convened and willing to recommend its revocation,” said the government’s note. In this case, the state is now under Governor Satyapal Malik’s rule.
In two tweets, Arun Jaitley also complimented Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah for correcting the historical blunder.
“A historical wrong has been undone today. Article 35A came through the back door without following the procedure under Article 368 of the Constitution of India. It had to go,” he tweeted.