Article 35A – 4 Important Facts that you should know

WHAT IS ARTICLE 35A?

Article 35A of the constitution empowers J&K legislature to define state’s “permanent residents” and their special rights and privileges. It was added to the constitution through a presidential order of 1954 with the then J&K government’s concurrence

 

WHAT IS ITS SIGNIFICANCE TO J&K?

* Through 1927 and 1932 notifications, Dogra ruler of the princely state of J&K, Maharaja Hari Singh imposed a law that defined state subjects and their rights. The law also regulated migrants to the state. J&K joined India through instrument of accession signed by its ruler Hari Singh in October 1947.

* After J&K’s accession, popular leader Sheikh Abdullah took over reins from Dogra ruler. In 1949, he negotiated J&K’s political relationship with New Delhi, which led to the inclusion of Article 370 in the Constitution.

* Article 370 guarantees special status to J&K,restricting Union’s legislative powers over three areas: defence, foreign affairs and communications.

* However, under the 1952 Delhi Agreement between Abdullah and Nehru, several provisions of the Constitution were extended to J&K via presidential order in 1954. Article 35A was inserted then.

* J&K’s Constitution was framed in 1956. It retained Maharaja’s definition of permanent residents: All persons born or settled within the state before 1911 or after having lawfully acquired immovable property resident in the state for not less than ten years prior to that date. All emigrants from Jammu and Kashmir, including those who migrated to Pakistan, are considered state subjects. The descendants of emigrants are considered state subjects for two generations.

* Permanent residents law prohibits non-permanent residents from permanent settlement in the state, acquiring immovable property, govt jobs, scholarships and aid.
* It was also interpreted as discriminatory against J&K women. It disqualified them from their state subject rights if they married non-permanent residents. But, in a landmark judgment in October 2002, J&K high court held that women married to non-permanent residents will not lose their rights. The children of such women don’t have succession rights.

 

WHY IS ARTICLE 35A BEING DEBATED?

* An NGO, We the Citizens, challenged 35A in SC in 2014 on grounds that it was not added to the Constitution through amendment under Article 368. It was never presented before Parliament, and came into effect immediately, the group argued.
* In another case in SC last month, two Kashmiri women argued that the state’s laws, flowing from 35A, had disenfranchised their children.

 

WHY ARE POLITICAL PARTIES & SEPARATISTS OPPOSED TO TINKERING WITH 35A?

Fear that it would lead to further erosion of J&K’s autonomy and trigger demographic change in Muslim majority valley. Political parties say Kashmir resolution lies in greater autonomy; separatists fan paranoia against possibility of Hindus ‘flooding’ the valley. However, in the last 70 years, demography of Kashmir Valley has remained unchanged even as Hindu majority in Jammu and Buddhists in Ladakh have rights to buy property and settle in the Valley.

Five major takeaways from the India – Japan Summit.

The just-concluded 12th India-Japan annual summit was Narendra Modi and Shinzo Abe’s fourth consecutive meet.

The two leading Asian powers whose bilateral interplay is among the most happening engagements on the world stage has a direct impact on the Asian giant and a near-superpower: China.

Here are five major takeaways from the summit:

1. DEFENCE:

While the much-awaited deal on the purchase of ShinMaywa US-2 amphibious aircraft couldn’t be signed during this visit — it’s still a matter of when not if.

This breakthrough defence deal is a sign of the importance that Japan attaches to India considering the track record that the east-Asian country has not exported any sensitive defence-related equipment to any foreign country in the last 70 years.

The joint statement released after the Modi-Abe summit in Gandhinagar gave an indication of the upcoming breakthrough over the aircraft deal. “Japan’s readiness to provide its state-of-the-art US-2 amphibian aircraft was appreciated as symbolising the high degree of trust between the two countries. The two governments decided to continue their discussions in this regard.”

 

2. STRATEGIC:

Joint exercises and growing strategic ties between India and Japan, with other powers like the United States and Australia, form the bedrock of fast expanding strategic relations between the two Asian powers.

Modi and Abe decided to take these strategic ties to an even higher level. Consider the following clause from the joint statement: “The two Prime Ministers welcomed the recently held annual Defence Ministerial Dialogue and the first Defence Industry Forum in Tokyo on 5 September, which was addressed by the two Defence Ministers as well as the discussions covering other promising initiatives in defence industry cooperation. They recognised the importance of enhancing interactions between governments and defence industries of the two countries in order to encourage equipment collaboration including defence and dual-use technologies.”

 

3. INDIA’S NORTHEAST:

Japan holds the unique distinction of being the only foreign power which is welcomed with open arms by India for the development of India’s north-eastern states and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

It’s not without reason that the Indo-Japan joint statement underlines the need for developing “smart islands” and improving the connectivity in all aspects. This has an undisclosed reference to Andaman and Nicobar Islands and what India, Japan may be planning together, with an eye on China, in these strategically located landmasses. As for the Indo-Japan joint plans with regard to the India’s northeast, consider the following clause of the joint statement: “The two Prime Ministers welcomed the India-Japan cooperation on development of India’s North Eastern Region (NER) as a concrete symbol of developing synergies between India’s Act East policy and Japan’s Free and Open Indo Pacific Strategy. In this context, they noted with satisfaction the setting up of the India-Japan Act East Forum. They appreciated the cooperation between Japan and North Eastern Region of India, ranging from key infrastructure such as road connectivity, electricity, water supply and sewage, to social and environmental sustainability such as afforestation and community empowerment, as well as people-to-people exchanges including the ‘IRIS Program’ inviting youth from the NER to Japan.”

 

4. BULLET TRAIN:

The Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR) project was indubitably the biggest optic of the Modi-Abe summit. The two sides exchanged notes for 100 billion yen (900 million US dollars) as the first Official Development Assistance or ODA loan for the project.

The Japanese have extended a soft loan for 50 years at an unbelievable interest rate of 0.1% for the $16 billion project. The terms of the loan also carry a grace period of 10 years for repayment, demonstrating how intrinsically close the Japanese have become in uplifting India’s infrastructure.

 

5. TERRORISM:

In a major brownie point to PM Modi, Shinzo Abe stood solidly with India on the issue of Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. The Japanese side, for the first time, referred to Pakistan-Based terror outfits in the joint statement. This should go a long way in aiding India’s attempts to isolate Pakistan in the international community. “PM Narendra Modi and PM (Shinzo) Abe look forward to convening (the) 5th Japan-India consultation on terrorism and to strengthen cooperation against terrorist threats from groups including Al-Qaida, ISIS, JeM, LeT and their affiliates,” said the joint statement.

This is the second in September when Pakistan has come under fire at an international summit for its sins of omission and commission on the terror issue. For the first time, the BRICS Summit held earlier this month agreed to a strongly worded BRICS Declaration slamming Pakistan without naming it, as it “deplored” terror attacks in member countries and the “violence caused” by Pakistan-based terror outfits. The part that should further aggravate Pakistan’s heartache is that it was hosted by its all-weather friend – China.

 

Source : News18

Doklam Stand off comes to an End – 9 takeaways from THE HINDU Editorial

What is the news?

The separate announcements by India and China that the Doklam military stand-off has ended are a welcome sign that diplomacy has prevailed over the harsh rhetoric of the past 10 weeks.

What is India’s Stand?

The measured tone of the statement from New Delhi, referring to the “expeditious disengagement (prompt detachment) of border personnel” as part of the understanding between the two countries, shows that the government’s policy of pursuing diplomatic measures in the face of China’s angry rhetoric was wise.

How China reacted at last?

In turn, China’s statement, which said that Indian troops had withdrawn from the disputed Doklam plateau while Chinese troops continue to patrol the area, gives Beijing the latitude it requires to end the stand-off peacefully.

Why the statements comes in differing versions?

The differing versions and the lack of further information leave several questions unanswered about the terms of the disengagement. But the very fact that both countries have been able to issue statements — even if they were designed to satisfy their domestic audiences — suggests that in diplomatic negotiations, each took into account the other’s constraints.

How the leaders have decided to mute the Doklam Stand off?

In issuing statements that were inconsistent with each other, both sides seem to have agreed to disagree.

To that end, the importance lies less in the detail but in the détente (the easing of hostility or strained relations, especially between countries) itself, in the decision by the leaderships of both countries to pull back from what some feared could escalate into a full-blown conflict.

In this, it must be noted that New Delhi and Beijing have respected the wishes of the Bhutanese government, which wanted an early end to the crisis before the bitter winter set in.

How important is this by looking at upcoming Modi’s visit to China?

Many are hoping that the decision on Doklam, which comes a week before Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to go to China, will guide the bilateral spirit beyond the September 3-5 BRICS summit to be held in Xiamen.

Once Mr. Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping have met, diplomats must begin the heavy lifting required to repair the rupture in ties over the past few months, beginning with the cancellation of the Nathu La route for Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrims.

What can be interfered from China’s statements over past 10 weeks?

Statements from China during the stand-off indicate that it no longer recognises the gains made in the Special Representative talks in 2012. Nor does it regard the India-Bhutan-China tri-junction near Batang-La to have been settled.

What is India’s stand on boundaries?

India has made it clear that it does not consider the Sikkim boundary settled either, and both sides will have to walk swiftly to come back to some semblance of an accord on such basic issues before they can move further.

India and China must revert to the spirit of the Border Defence Cooperation Agreement of 2013, which laid down specific guidelines on tackling future developments along the 3,488-km boundary the two countries share.

What are the lessons from the issue?

The past two and a half months are also a lesson that India cannot be unprepared for “another Doklam”, as Chief of the Army Staff Bipin Rawat said on Sunday.

India must necessarily “hope for the best, and prepare for the worst”, when it comes to tensions with its northern neighbour.

Diplomacy has paid off in ending the Doklam stand-off, but India and China must look forward to build the relationship better.

Source: THE HINDU

 

Triple Talaq and Supreme Court Judgement | Current affairs updates

TRIPLE TALAQ SUPREME COURT JUDGEMENT

The controversial Muslim divorce law Triple talaq that allows men to leave their wives immediately by uttering the word “talaq” (divorce) three times, has been banned by the Supreme Court, which today called it illegal, retrograde that is backward and unworthy.

A panel of five judges said that triple talaq “is not integral to religious practice and violates constitutional morality”.

The court called triple talaq “bad in law” and said that The court hopes the legislature will consider and take into account Muslim Personal Law while making legislation and asked All parties must keep their politics away and decide this.

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Referring to the abolition of the practice in Islamic countries, the court questioned, “Why can’t independent India get rid of it?”

Till now, according to the constitution, Triple talaq is legal for Muslims, but several Muslim women who have been divorced, including by Skype and on WhatsApp, had challenged the 1400-year-old practice.

Five judges of different faiths – Chief Justice JS Khehar (Sikh), Justice Kurian Joseph (Christian), RF Nariman (Parsi), UU Lalit (Hindu) and Justice Abdul Nazeer (Muslim)- heard the case over five days from May 12 to May 18.

Two of the five judges who differed said while triple talaq “may be sinful”, the court can’t interfere in personal laws that are considered a fundamental right by the constitution.

The government had backed the petitioners, declaring triple talaq unconstitutional, and offensive and discriminatory for women. But it had argued that the court should first pronounce its decision on the constitutional validity of triple talaq, only then it would bring a law.

Here is the 8-points to be noted in this news:

1. Three of the five judges hearing the case said it is unconstitutional; the other two wanted it banned for six months till the government introduces new legislation. The majority opinion held that triple talaq “is not integral to religious practice and violates constitutional morality”.

2. The judges in favour of a new law to be formed by the government by taking the concerns of some Muslim organisations who are critical of any attempts to interfere with religious laws, arguing it curtails their constitutional right to govern their affairs.

3. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), a non-governmental body which oversees the application of Muslim personal law, opposes any ban on triple talaq and argues this is a religious matter and not for the courts.

4. The Supreme Court referred to the fact that several Islamic countries like Pakistan do not allow triple talaq; judges questioned why it should not be abolished in India.

5. The Supreme Court has for the first time reviewed whether triple talaq is fundamental to Islam and therefore legally binding. Three of the five judges held that triple talaq violates the beliefs of the Quran.

6. The verdict was delivered by a panel of five judges from different major faiths – Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism and Zoroastrianism. Arguments concluded in May.

7. India allows religious institutions to govern matters of personal law – marriage, divorce and property inheritance – through civil codes; so far, triple talaq has been considered a legal avenue for the country’s nearly 180 million Muslims to end marriages.

8. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has backed the petitioners in this landmark case, declaring triple talaq unconstitutional, and offensive and discriminatory for women. In different public speeches, PM Modi has spoken against the practice, pledging to protect the right to equality of all women.