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Transformation of Jammu and Kashmir into Union Territories



  Aug 29, 2023

Reorganization of Jammu and Kashmir into Union Territories


Did Parliament have the authority to split J&K into two Union Territories (UTs)?

The decision to convert Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two Union Territories raises the question of Parliament's power in this matter. The move transforms a State with an elected legislature into UTs with one UT being denied legislature alrtogether and another with limited legislative powers.It can impact the democratic participation of the people.
 

How does this transformation affect governance in J&K?

The transformation leads to significant changes in governance. A centrally appointed administrator, the Lieutenant Governor, gains substantial decision-making power, unlike a regular State Governor who acts based on the State's Council of Ministers' advice.
 

What is the legislative authority in the new Union Territories?

While the UT of J&K will have a legislature with certain powers but the Centre will be in direct control of public order and police in the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) through theLG. This limits the scope of decision-making by elected representatives.
 

Is there a historical precedent for such reorganization?

The reorganization of a full-fledged State into two Union Territories is unprecedented in India. A mild parallel can be drawn with Delhi's historical transformation from a 'Part C' State into a UT.But calling Delhi a 'Part C' State is only in name. It was not a state as we know a state topday. it was effectively a UT,for all practical purposes.
 

What was the "Part C" State ?

"Part C" State refers to a classification of states in India that existed during the initial years after independence. The Indian Constitution categorized states into three parts - Part A, Part B, and Part C. These categorizations were based on factors such as size, population, and administrative considerations.
 
Part A states were the larger and more prominent states with a higher degree of autonomy and self-governance. Part B states were the princely states that had acceded to India after independence and had varying degrees of autonomy and integration into the Indian Union.
 
Part C states were the smaller and less prominent states that were directly administered by the central government. These states were governed by a Chief Commissioner or a Lieutenant Governor appointed by the President of India. They had limited legislative powers and were subject to the direct authority of the central government.
 
Delhi, before its transformation into a Union Territory, was initially categorized as a Part C state. It was later reorganized into a Union Territory with its own legislative assembly, and eventually gained partial statehood with legislative powers over certain subjects.
 

What distinguishes J&K's situation from Delhi's?

J&K was a full state with constitutional autonomy. Delhi was effectively a UT. However, Art.2 and 3 empower parliament to demote a State to the status of a UT.
 

What did J&K's special status entail?

J&K's special status, under Article 370, provided a higher degree of autonomy while not implying sovereignty. Its conversion into a UT significantly curtails democratic rights.
 

How did the methods of reorganization differ?

The transformation of Delhi into a UT and its subsequent legislative restoration were achieved through constitutional amendments.That is becaused a class of States had to be abolished. In the case of J&K, a new method was followed given its unique status. I
 

What does this mean for other States with special status?

Special status for States in the Indian Constitution reflects unique contexts and compositions. Art.370 was temporary while Art.371 is not.
 

What are the broader implications?

The reorganization of J&K into UTs underscores the complexities of balancing governance changes with democratic representation. It emphasizes the importance of preserving the diverse democratic fabric while adapting administrative structures.
 
(The above piece is a significantly altered one from what you find in the newspaper as certain facts have to be put in perspective. You will appreciate it)


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