Explained: Jammu and Kashmir state to two UTs — today, later

Headline : Explained: Jammu and Kashmir state to two UTs — today, later

Details :

In News

  • The state of Jammu and Kashmir will be officially bifurcated into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh on October 31. The day will mark the beginning of the functioning of the two UTs at a bureaucratic level.
  • This marks an important milestone in the history of J&K and culminates the process that started on August 5 with the landmark announcement for emasculation of Article 370 as well as end of statehood for J&K
  • The period between August 5 and October 31 has been used by the state administration and the Home Ministry to put a basic bureaucratic structure in place to implement the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act.
  • This is the first time that a state is being bifurcated into two UTs. In the past, there have been instances of a UT becoming a full state or a state being reorganised into two states.

 

Slow process of Reorganization

  • As of now, the state administration has implemented all that is mentioned in the Reorganisation Act as it is.
  • For full-fledged bifurcation of States, the Reorganisation Act gives a period of one year. But, reorganisation of states is a slow process that at times can take years.
  • Issues relating to reorganisation of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, which was bifurcated into Andhra and Telangana in 2013, are still being brought to the Union Home Ministry for resolution.

 

Implication of the official bifurcation

  • Post the official bifurcation the Centre will be in direct control of police and law & order in J&K from 31st October.
  • It also puts an end to J&K’s flag and constitution, symbols of the state’s special status.
  • The Lieutenant Governors of the two UTs will take oath of office along with the Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
  • On the ground, the two UTs will get their own Chief Secretaries and other top bureaucrats, their own police chiefs and key supervisory officers.

 

Impact on laws that governed the state of Jammu & Kashmir

  • Legislative restructuring is a work in progress, with a lot remaining to be done. While 153 state laws are to be repealed, 166 have been retained.
  • The exercise of repealing Acts that mention “applicable to all of India but not the state of Jammu and Kashmir” will also have to be undertaken.
  • Further, there is a massive legislative exercise of making state-specific insertions into the 108 central laws that would now be applicable to the two Union Territories.

 

Impact on staff

  • While the bureaucratic structures are in place, the staff of the state administration are yet to be divided.
  • As of now, the Home Ministry has issued an interim order to maintain the station of all staff in the lower bureaucracy as it is.
  • This is to ensure that the two UTs keep on functioning without any hiccups beginning October 31. However, a subsequent reorganisation of staff will take place in due course.

 

Filling the political void

  • It is early days, but the Centre hopes to slowly fill the political void created following the arrest of almost all notable politicians and prominent workers of mainstream parties in the Valley.
  • A new political alternative being catalyzed by the Centre is starting to take shape in Kashmir.
  • Several young aspiring politicians are ready to look beyond the abrogation of Article 370, and willing to start afresh a dialogue with the people and engage with the Centre.
  • The government is also banking on the emergence of a new crop of political leaders from panchayats and municipal bodies.

 

EU MPs in J&K

  • European Union parliamentarians visiting Kashmir termed the dilution of Article 370 an internal issue of India and said they stand by the country in its fight against terrorism.
  • The 23-member delegation also condemned the killing of five labourers from West Bengal by militants in Kulgam district.
  • They also acknowledged that terrorism is a severe problem in Kashmir and named Pakistan as its source.

 

 

Section : Editorial Analysis

Distrust towards Chinese interference in Arctic an opportunity for India Editorial 21st Oct’19 FinancialExpress

Headline : Distrust towards Chinese interference in Arctic an opportunity for India Editorial 21st Oct’19 FinancialExpress

Details :

Significance of Arctic:

  • Arctic is a resource-rich area.
  • With the melting of the sea ice, proposed sea and land routes are strategically emerging in the region.

The Arctic Circle (Organization):

  • As the Arctic has suffered from a lack of global awareness and a lack of effective governance, the Arctic Circle organization was established in 2013.
  • The Arctic Circle is a quasi-government body that works with the Icelandic government to create the largest, unique and open Arctic platform for international dialogue and cooperation on the future of the Arctic.

Arctic Circle Assembly:

  • The annual Arctic Circle Assembly is a meeting place for over 2,000 delegates from 60 odd countries.
  • The Assembly does not uphold any specific embodied mandates, but is key in setting the trends and priorities for the increasingly challenging future in all the eight Arctic nations, plus the countries that border them.

The Arctic Council:

  • The Arctic Council is the intergovernmental forum established by the eight Arctic nations.
  • The eight Arctic nations are Russia, Canada, the Kingdom of Denmark (including Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and the United States.

Telegram: https://t.me/PSIRExpress

China’s interest in the region is concerning for many:

  • At a recent Arctic Circle Assembly, apart from representations from Iceland, the USA followed by Norway, Canada, Russia and the UK had the highest number of attendees.
  • China’s presence was substantive in the sessions at the recent assembly. China, though not an Arctic nation, has designated itself to be one.
  • However, it was looked at with suspicion by some participating countries.
    • For example, Greenland (Denmark) expressed deep distrust towards China’s investment in its aviation sector.
    • Also, China’s leading role in the establishment of new routes in the region—notably the Polar-Silk route and the Belt and Road Initiative was a subject of discussion by the academics.

India’s Arctic scientific programme:

  • India has had a vibrant Arctic scientific programme since 2008.
  • It has been striving for scientific leadership for many decades now—the commencement of the Antarctic programme, way back in 1982, was a significant step towards this.
  • India’s competence in scientific research helped the nation gain the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting membership, and, thereon, the Arctic Council observer status in 2013. This has been renewed again in 2019.
  • This competence also beckons collaborative international research augmentation and enhanced expertise in global science.
  • India’s India’s nodal institute in this regard is the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Goa.

Apart from scientific research, India has shown little interest in the region:

  • India is not an Arctic nation, or even a ‘near-Arctic’ one.
  • India seems to have little business interest in the resource-rich area, and the proposed strategic sea and land routes do not seem to excite India enough.

Further involvement in the region needs active interest from Indian ministerial bodies:

  • Despite India’s scientific advancement, positioning itself for further involvement calls for an active interest from ministerial bodies.
  • Although, India has been partnering with Russia for oil and gas in the high Arctic, the recent Arctic Assembly saw no participation from the sector.

Resource exploitation in the Arctic:

  • The Arctic Council, being the intergovernmental body of Arctic nations, concerns itself with all issues (except military security).
  • However, it does not prohibit commercial exploitation of resources in the Arctic. It simply mandates sustainability, “without harming the interests of local populations and in conformity with the local environment”.

In this context, the region needs a new direction:

  • The Arctic has been opened up for exploration and resource exploitation.
  • Already experts are warning of the Chinese interest here which claims the Arctic belonged to its ‘right-holders’.
  • In this context, there is the need for an aggressive and need-based directive.
  • The Arctic needs a new direction—scientific expertise, investment in oil and gas sector, infrastructure investment, new fishery technologies and skilled human capital are all being urgently sought.

India could look to get involved in giving the Arctic a new direction:

  • India is capable of helping with expertise, manpower and investment.
  • For this, India’s various policy bodies and industry federations need to strategise and devise a new and challenging roadmap for interventions in the region.
  • With a quiet acceptance of India in the global fora and increasing distrust towards Chinese investments, it is an opportune time for India to show its indelible Arctic leadership to the world.

Importance:

GS Paper II: International Relations

Section : Editorial Analysis

J&K Statehood and 370 Article: Analysis

Headline : The state has its reasons Editorial 7th Aug’19 IndianExpress

Details :

Telegram : https://t.me/SimplifiedIAS

Status of J&K stuck in ambiguity:

  • For over seven decades, the status of the state of Jammu and Kashmir has been masked in ambiguity and deceit.
  • Successive governments of both India and Pakistan had tried but failed to arrive at an amicable “final solution” because of the play of vested interests on both sides.

Two potential routes to a resolution:

  • The resolution attempts over time shaped two potential routes to a resolution.
  • One may be termed the “hard” option and the other the “soft” option.

 

Pakistan tried the hard option of war first:

  • Pakistan tried the hard option of occupying the territory as early as in 1947 when it sent troops into the erstwhile kingdom of Jammu and Kashmir and grabbed territory.
  • It tried the hard option a second time but failed, in 1998 when it crossed the Line of Control (LoC) at Kargil.

Then it was ready for soft option:

  • It was only after these attempts at a military soluti on on the part of Pakistan failed that the two countries began considering the “soft” options.

 

Soft option of LoC as IB pursued: 

  • Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee took the first step in defining a final “soft” solution when he was open to the idea that the LoC could be defined as the “international border” (IB).
  • Later, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh pursued that option through dialogue with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, conducted largely through a back channel.
  • The Manmohan-Musharraf formula:
    • It was based on the premise that terrorism and cross-border attacks would cease, and the LoC would become the IB.
    • In Kashmir, it would be a soft border that would enable Kashmiris on both sides to travel to and fro.
    • It advocated free trade across the border, and “self-governance for internal management in all areas on the same basis on both sides of the LoC”.
    • Once such a benign environment was established, both sides would reduce to the bare minimum the presence of their respective militaries on their side of the border.

The soft option did not work out:

  • All those ideas did not progress.
  • Musharraf in Pakistan and then Singh in India lost the already little support to pursue this “soft” solution.
  • The Mumbai terror attack in November 2008 and other events ultimately increased pressure for the burial of the soft solution.
  • Pakistan’s military and hardline political leadership went against the soft solution.
  • In India, the changed government also rejected the Manmohan-Musharraf formula.

End of pursuit of soft solution:

  • Since 2014, there have been no takers for the soft solution both in India and Pakistan.
  • On the contrary, attitudes began to harden on both sides.
  • No credible political leader in Pakistan or India seems interested any longer in pursuing the now abandoned soft solution.

 

India’s pursuit of hard solution – End of Article 370:

  • India tried all options to resolve the Kashmir issue but nothing yielded a convincing result.
  • Having exhausted soft options, a hard solution has been opted for.
  • The Indian leadership was convinced that change needs to be brought in Kashmir and this was an opportune moment.
  • The result was the end of Art 370 in Kashmir and the change of its position to that of a Union Territory.

 

Despite criticism, securing borders as important as the minds of the people:

  • Critics of the government’s action have said it was motivated by a desire to secure land rather than its inhabitants.
  • Every state has to be as mindful of its territory as of its inhabitants.
  • More wars have been fought between nations over land than only over the interests of its peoples.
  • Even Abraham Lincoln did not wage a civil war only to define the rights of US citizens but to also define the territorial limits of the US state.
  • A state that cannot define its borders and protect them has no reason to survive.
  • Significantly, most political parties have backed the government’s action. They are not necessarily defending the government but are defending the interests of the Indian state.

Conclusion:

  • India has tried both soft and hard solutions to define its borders.
  • The only remaining unresolved issues are with Pakistan and China.
  • With China, a negotiated settlement is still possible since its leadership has demonstrated greater maturity in dealing with India.
  • Pakistan too could have secured a peaceful resolution by ceasing to make India more anxious about its security.
  • In choosing not to do so, Pakistan forced India into a hard solution.

Importance:

GS Paper II: International Relations

Section : Editorial Analysis

River water disputes: Disputes Resolution Committee (DRC), Inter State Water Dispute Act, 1956

Headline : One tribunal for all river water disputes: why the proposal, how it will work

Details :

In News:
  • The Inter-State River Water Disputes (Amendment) Bill, 2019 has been passed by Lok Sabha.
  • It seeks to streamline the adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter-State rivers and river valleys.
News Summary:
  • The Bill cleared by Lok Sabha seeks to make amendments to the Inter-State River Waters Disputes Act of 1956, that provides for setting up of a separate tribunal every time a dispute arises.
  • Once it becomes law, the amendment will ensure the transfer of all existing water disputes to the single Inter-State River Water Disputes Tribunal with different Benches in states.
  • All five existing tribunals under the 1956 Act would cease to exist.
What changes after the amendment?
Dispute resolution system:
Earlier:
  • Under the 1956 Act, a separate tribunal was needed to be set up every time a dispute arises.
Now:
  • Once it becomes law, the amendment will ensure the transfer of all existing water disputes to the single new tribunal.
  • The current system of dispute resolution would give way to a new two-tier approach:
    • Disputes Resolution Committee (DRC):
      • Under the new system, the Centre would set up a DRC once states raise a dispute.
      • The DRC would be headed by a serving or retired secretary-rank officer with experience in the water sector and would have other expert members and a representative of each state government concerned.
      • The DRC would try to resolve the dispute through negotiations within a year (extendable by another 6 months) and submit a report to the Centre.
      • Only if the DRC fails to resolve the dispute will the matter be referred to the tribunal.
  • Bench constituted by the tribunal:
    • If the DRC fails to settle the dispute, it would be referred to the permanent tribunal.
    • The chairperson would then constitute a three-member bench that would consider the DRC report before investigating on its own.
    • It would have to finalise its decision within two years (extendable by another year).
  •  The decision of the tribunal would carry the weight of an order of the Supreme Court.
 
Time taken to settle the disputes:
Earlier:
  • Under the 1956 Act, nine tribunals have so far been set up. It has taken 17 to 27 years to resolve disputes by these tribunals.
  • Only four of them have given their awards.
  • Though the tribunal was supposed to give its award within three years (extendable by another two years), the tribunals have taken much longer to give their decisions.
    • For example, the dispute over Cauvery waters between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu took 28 years to settle.
    • The Ravi and Beas Waters Tribunal was set up in April 1986 and it is still to give the final award.
    • The minimum a tribunal has taken to settle a dispute is seven years, by the first Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal in 1976.
  • The multiplicity of tribunals has led to an increase in bureaucracy, delays, and possible duplication of work.
Now:
  • The amendment is bringing a time limit for adjudicating the disputes.
  • All disputes would now have to be resolved within a maximum of four-and-a-half years.
About: Inter State Water Dispute Act, 1956
  • The Parliament has enacted Inter-State River Water Disputes (ISRWD) Act, 1956 for adjudication of disputes relating to waters of inter-State rivers and river valley thereof.
  • Setting up of Tribunal: When any request under the said Act is received from any State Government in respect of any water dispute on the inter-State rivers and the Central Government is of the opinion that the water dispute cannot be settled by negotiations, the Central Government constitutes a Water Disputes Tribunal for the adjudication of the water dispute.
    • Note: The 2019 amendment Bill seeks to modify this to have a single permanent Tribunal with multiple benches constitutes as and when necessary to adjudicate the disputes.
  • Make recommendations to government: The Tribunal so constituted investigates the matters referred to it and forward to the Central Government a report setting out the facts as found by it and giving its decision on the mattes referred to it.
  • Sole body to adjudicate disputes: Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law, neither the Supreme Court nor any other Court shall have or exercise jurisdiction in respect of any water dispute which may be referred to a Tribunal under this Act.
  • Final and Binding: The Central Government shall publish the decision of the Tribunal in the Official Gazette and the decision shall be final and binding on the parties to the dispute and shall be given effect to by them.
    • Judicial Review: However, the Supreme Court, while hearing a civil suit in the Cauvery dispute, had said the decision of that tribunal could be challenged before it through a Special Leave Petition under Article 136 of the Constitution.
  • Implementation: The Central Government may establish any authority/body for the implementation of the decision or directions of the Tribunal.
Section : Polity & Governance

For Naya Kashmir Editorial 6th Aug’19 IndianExpress

Headline : For Naya Kashmir Editorial 6th Aug’19 IndianExpress

Details :

Kashmiri leaders also sought progress:
  • Naya Kashmir was a memorandum that Kashmiri leader Sheikh Abdullah submitted to the King of erstwhile Kashmir kingdom Maharaja Hari Singh in 1944.
  • It outlined a plan to convert J&K from an absolute monarchy to a constitutional democracy, called for universal franchise, freedom of expression and press, ability of women to work in all trades and professions, and a detailed economic plan.
  • That vision of social justice, economic progress and poverty reduction wasn’t achieved, and is highly relevant for Kashmir today.
Low economic complexity in Kashmir:
  • Kashmir is an economic infant with low economic complexity.
  • Government finances poor:
    • The state accounts for less than 0.7 per cent of India’s GDP.
    • The fiscal deficit is more than twice the prescribed ratio and government debt is 50 per cent of GDP.
    • Private Credit to GDP is less than Bihar and the J&K Bank is a shame.
  • Hardly any private sector:
    • More than 30 per cent of families directly work for the government.
    • There is no wage premium in handicrafts; carpet weavers get Rs 150 a day while construction labour costs Rs 600 per day (and comes from outside the state).
    • Less than five per cent of fruits and nuts are processed.
    • Private investment last year was less than Rs 1,000 crore.
    • There is only one listed company and only one company with a paid up capital of Rs 10 crore.
    • There is no employer in the Kashmir Valley who pays provident fund and no private employer with more 1
    • Their 28 employment exchanges cost almost Rs 50 crore a year to run and have given few jobs to anybody in a decade.than 500 formal employees.
The real Kashmiri aspirational Youth hoping for progress:
  • Most Kashmiri elites have economically diversified away from the Valley but the masses can’t exit.
  • The masses have lost their voices because of Kashmir’s economic infancy and democracy controlled by few politicians.
  • While the political royalty speaks about the threats to civilisation, the Kashmiri youth, which is more skilled, entrepreneurial, and aspirational than the past generations, is looking for progress.
Economic complexity needed in kashmir:
  • Such a situation is hardly fertile soil for economic vibrancy.
  • Some economists say that the only predictor of sustained economic success is economic complexity.
  • Kashmiris should spend the next decade creating the economic complexity that blunts passions by creating interests (jobs, skills, enterprises, assets, income, growth).
What should be done?
  • A 10-year strategy for education, employment and employability that leverages India’s economic complexity is the need of the hour.
  • Kashmir needs a new skill university that spreads higher education with employability.
  • We should convert Hari Niwas into a world class hotel management institute in partnership with ITE Singapore or EHL Lausanne.
  • We must double the direct flights and directly connect Srinagar to Jammu and Delhi with a three-hour and 12-hour train.
  • We need revamped employment exchanges that operate a digital job site that offers job matching, assessments, apprentices, and online degrees.
  • Massive funds must be committed to infrastructure and cluster creation.
  • We need a massive design and distribution mission for handicrafts and fruits that raises the realisation of actual producers.
  • Most importantly, we must get the huge, skilled, and motivated Kashmiri diaspora to return and reduce informal self-employment by creating more formal wage employment.
Conclusion:
  • India and J&K are tremendously and permanently intertwined.
  • When one does well, the other does well.
  • And when we both do well, we are unstoppable.
Importance:
GS Paper III: Economy
Section : Editorial Analysis

Jammu and Kashmir: Article 370, Article 35(A), Resolutions, Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill and all other developments

Headline : J&K loses its special status, divided into two UTs

Details :

Telegram: https://t.me/UpscExpress

The News:

  • In a historic decision, the Indian government has changed the terms of engagement with Jammu and Kashmir by doing away with the special status enjoyed by the state under Article 370scrapping Article 35A and splitting the state into two UTs of J&K and Ladakh.

 

Background: Special status to Jammu and Kashmir

  • Following an invasion from tribesmen and Army men from Pakistan, Raja of J&K Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession (IoA) with India on October 26, 1947.
  • Governor General Lord Mountbatten accepted it with following conditions:
    • Powers to the parliament to legislate in respect of J&K only on Defence, External Affairs and Communications.
    • Clause 5 of IoA: It cannot be varied by any amendment of the Act or of Indian Independence Act unless such accepted by the king by a supplementary Instrument.
    • Clause 6 of IoA: It disallowed the making of laws to acquire land in the state for any purpose but permitted the king to do so for the Dominion of India for a law applicable to the state.
    • Clause 7of IoA: No future Constitution of India (which was still to be written) could be imposed on the state.
  • In 1950, in the original Constitution of India, J&K was listed as a Part B state, along with theother princely states that had merged by Instruments of Accession, and Hyderabad and Mysore.
  • Party B states were then abolished and J&K was by an amendment of the Constitution put into Article 1 as India’s 15th state and irrevocably part of the “territory of India”.
  • India’s stated policy regarding IoA was that wherever there was a dispute on accession, it should be settled in accordance with the wishes of people (Plebiscite).
  • In 1975, Sheikh Abdullah came to an agreement with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. As per the agreement, in return for giving up his demand for a plebiscite, special status for J&K was allowed to continue and Sheikh Abdullah became chief minister.
  • Jammu and Kashmir enjoyed special status under Article 370 of the Constitution of India.

Article 370:

  • Article 370 was incorporated in Part XXI (temporary provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir) of the Constitution.
  • As a result of Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir had its own Constitution, and all laws passed by Parliament will not be applicable to the State, unless the State government gives its concurrence.
  • It lays down that only two Articles would apply to J&K: Article 1, which defines India, and Article 370 itself.
  • The President is empowered to decide what provisions of the Constitution of India would be applicable to the State and what are the exceptions, but with the State government’s concurrence.
  • The Union of India could legislate/act only in defence, foreign affairs and communications.

Procedure for removal of Article 370:

  • This Article describes it as a temporary provision .
  • Article 370(3) permits deletion by a Presidential Order, which has to be preceded by the concurrence of J&K’s Constituent Assembly.
  • However, the J&K constituent Assembly was dissolved on January 26, 1957.
  • In the absence of the assembly, the governor’s consent is considered to fulfil the requirement.

Article 35A:

  • Article 35A stems from Article 370 and was incorporated in the constitution by a presidential order under article 370 in 1954 on the advice of the Cabinet.
  • Article 35-A provides special rights and privileges to permanent residents of Jammu & Kashmir.
  • Article 35A gives the J&K Legislature, full freedom to decide the ‘permanent residents’ of the State and grant them special rights and privileges in:
    • State public sector jobs
    • Acquisition of property in the State
    • Scholarships and other public aid and welfare programs
  • The provision also provides that any act of the State legislature coming under the ambit of Article 35A cannot be challenged for violating the Indian Constitution or any other law of the land.

Note: Article does not figure in the text of the Constitution of India, but figures only in the J&K’s Constitution.

 

News Summary:

  • The Union Home Minister introduced, two special resolutions and a Bill creating the Union Territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh through the Rajya Sabha.

 

Resolution 1: Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 2019

  • The President used his powers under Article 370 to issue the 2019 Order, which will supersede the previous Presidential Order of 1954.
  • The new order makes the entire Constitution of India applicable to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. This means it effectively ends the special status that had been granted to J&K by stating that all the provisions of the Indian Constitution, as also its amendments, shall now apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Article 35A, making distinction between the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir and the outsiders, will also cease to have any effect.
  • Under Clause 1 of Article 370, President made all provisions of the Constitution effectively applicable to J&K.

Resolution 2: Repeal of Article 370 of the Constitution of India {Ref. Article 370 (3)}

  • Under article 370(3), there is a provision that President, on recommendation of the Parliament, has the power to amend or cease the implementation of article 370, through a public notification.
  • Rather than abrogating or repealing Article 370, govt has essentially read down its provisions.
  • The provisions of Article 370 will cease to exist from the date the President of India issues a notification after the Lok Sabha passes the resolution.

Changes under Article 367:

  • All references to the ‘Sadar-i-Riyasat’, acting on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers, will be construed as references to the Governor of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • All references to the State government shall mean “the Governor”.
  • The reference to the “Constituent Assembly” in a proviso to Article 370 (3) has been amended to read “Legislative Assembly of the State”.

 

Bill: The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill

  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill, 2019, will bring about the following changes:
  • Two Union Territories to be formed out of the State of Jammu and Kashmir:
    • UT of Ladakh (Kargil and Leh district)
    • UT of Jammu and Kashmir (all other districts of the state of J&K).
  • Both UTs to have Lieutenant Governor, for now Governor will act as both.
  • While the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature, the one in Ladakh will not.
    • Four sitting Rajya Sabha members of the state will become MPs of UT of J&K.
    • Five Lok Sabha seats to go to the UT of J&K.
    • Legislative Assembly of UT of J&K will have 107 seats to be chosen through a direct election.
    • One Lok Sabha seat to go to the UT of Ladakh.
    • 24 seats in PoK will be vacant.

Note: This is the first time after the 1956 states’ reorganisation that a full-fledged state has been relegated to a UT (or two).

 

Changes after the development:

  • All the provisions that formed the basis of a separate “Constitution” for Jammu and Kashmir stand abrogated.
  • All the provisions of the Constitution of India, shall apply to Jammu and Kashmir too.
  • J&K will now have no separate flag or Constitution.
  • Tenure of assembly will be for 5 years, not 6.
  • Indian Penal Code will replace Ranbir Penal Code (that is currently applicable there).
  • People from other states are now eligible to purchase land and properties.
  • Non-permanent residents can permanently settle in state.
  • Outsiders can now be employed in state govt and companies and be eligible for scholarships in state-run educational institutions.
  • RTI Act will be applicable in J&K.

 

The decision on J&K expected to be challenged in SC

  • The Indian government passed a resolution seeking to undo J&K’s special status with a simple majority, even as it was widely believed that Article 370 could be “scrapped” only by a Constitution amendment bill needing a two-thirds majority.
  • It did so by using a provision in Article 370 itself even as it fully anticipates that the presidential notification will be challenged in the Supreme Court.
Section : Polity & Governance

About Consular access, Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR)

Headline : Consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav: What ICJ ordered; Pakistan has ‘offered’ to India

Details :

In News:

  • Pakistan has offered India consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav, the India who’s been in jail in Pakistan since 2016.
  • India is “evaluating” the Pakistani proposal which comes with some strict conditions.

Background:

  • Kulbhushan Jadhav is a former Indian Navy officer, who was arrested by Pakistani officials in 2016, on suspicion of spying and obstructing activities against the country.
  • Claiming that Jadhav was an Indian spy, the Pakistani military court sentenced him to death.
  • However, India insists that Jadhav was kidnapped from Iran where he had business interests after retiring from the Navy and that he has no links with the government.
  • As a last resort of appeal, India went to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which stayed the execution.
  • India accused Pakistan of violating the Vienna Convention by failing to provide Jadhav with consular access, as well as breaking human rights laws.
  • On 17 July 2019, International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Pakistan to undertake an “effective review and reconsideration” of Jadhav’s conviction and sentencing, and grant consular access to him without delay.
  • The ICJ also upheld India’s stand that Pakistan is in egregious violation of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963.

 

What is the concept of “consular access”?

  • Consular access simply means that a diplomat or an official will have a meeting with the prisoner who is in the custody of another country.
  • The Diplomat will first confirm the identity of the person, and then will ask some basic questions on his treatment in the custody and about his needs.
  • Depending on the response, the diplomat/official will report back to his/her government, and the next steps will be initiated.
  • The principle of consular access was agreed to in the 1950s and 60s.

 

About Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR)

  • The Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) is an international treaty that defines consular relations between independent states and was framed in 1963, at the height of Cold War.
  • During the Cold war era, “spies” from the US and USSR were caught in each other’s countries and across the world, and the idea was to ensure that they were not denied consular access.
  • All countries agreed to the principle, and more than 170 have ratified the Vienna Convention, making it one of the most universally recognised treaties in the world.
  • The object and purpose of the Vienna Convention is to contribute to the development of friendly relations among nations.
  • Under Article 36 of the VCCR,
    • At the request of a detained foreign national, the consulate of the sending State must be notified of the detention “without delay”.
    • The consulate has the right “to visit a national of the sending State who is in prison, custody or detention, to converse and correspond with him and to arrange for his legal representation”.

Challenges in the implementation of the treaty:

  • The ability of a consulate to provide effective aid has been heavily dependent on the prompt receipt of information of the detention, and timely access to the detainee.
  • No time interval is indicated for granting consular access.
    • However, consular access must be provided in all cases where a foreigner is “arrested or committed to prison or to custody pending trial or is detained in any other manner”, regardless of the circumstances or charges.

 

News Summary:

  • After the ICJ verdict, Pakistan has finally offered India consular access to Kulbhushan Jadhav.
  • Pakistan’s Proposal: Pakistan has laid down 3 conditions for consular access to Jadhav:
    • The presence of a Pakistani official in the room where Indian officials will speak to Jadhav.
    • The room to have CCTVs
    • Sound recording facilities in the room.
  • Pakistan’s proposal violative of Article 36, 1 para (a) of VCCR:
    • According to Article 36, 1 para (a) of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR): Consular officers shall be free to communicate with nationals of the sending State (India) and to have access to them.
    • Nationals of the sending State (Kulbhushan Jadhav) shall have the same freedom with respect to communication with and access to consular officers of the sending State (India).
    • The conditions being laid down by Pakistan are violative of that spirit of free access to Jadhav.
  • India is evaluating the Pakistan proposal in light of the ICJ judgment and will maintain communication with Pakistan on this through diplomatic channels.
  • While Islamabad has given a date and time, it is unlikely that India would accept such a monitored meeting.
Section : International Relation