Article 35-A is ‘constitutionally vulnerable, has denied JK a booming economy’, says Arun Jaitley

Srinagar: Finance Minister of India Arun Jaitley on Thursday in social media blog said that the Article 35-A is “constitutionally vulnerable” and has denied JK  a booming economy.

In a blog posted on Facebook titled ‘The Rule of Law and the State of Jammu & Kashmir’, Jaitley said the seven-decade history of the state of Jammu and Kashmir confronts changing India with several questions.

“Was the Nehruvian course, which the state had embarked, a historical blunder or was it the correct course to follow? Most Indians today believe that it is the former.

“Does our policy today have to be guided by that erroneous vision or an out of box thinking which is in consonance with ground reality?” Jaitley questioned.

While calling the Article a ‘misadventure’ he said, “The State does not have adequate financial resources. Its ability to raise more has been crippled by Article 35-A. No investor is willing to set up an industry, hotel, private educational institutions or private hospitals since he can neither buy land or property nor can his executives do so. Their ward cannot get government jobs or admission to colleges.”

He further added, “Today, there are no major national or international chains which have set up hotel in a tourism centric State. This prevents enrichment, resource generation and job creation. Students have to travel all over, including Nepal and Bangladesh, to get college admissions. Engineering colleges and hospitals, including super-speciality facility set up by Central Government in Jammu are lying under-utilized or unutilized since Professors and Doctors from outside are unwilling to go there. Article 35A has prevented investment and dismantled the State’s economy.”

“Article 35A, which is constitutionally vulnerable, is used as a political shield by many but it hurt the common citizen of the State the most. It denied them a booming economy, economic activity and jobs,” Jaitely said.

The senior BJP leader and in-charge of the party’s campaign committee for general elections said Article 35-A was “surreptitiously” included by a presidential notification in the Constitution in 1954.

Article 35-A, he said, was neither a part of the original Constitution framed by the Constituent Assembly, nor did it come as a Constitutional Amendment under Article 368 of the Constitution which requires an approval by two-third majority of both Houses of Parliament. “It came as a presidential notification and is a surreptitious executive insertion in the Constitution.”

Jaitley further said the Article gives the right to the state government to discriminate between two state citizens living in the state on the basis of declaring some as permanent residents while leaving out the others.

It also discriminates between permanent residents of the state and all other Indian citizens living elsewhere, he added.

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