The tortuous thicket of laws, constitutional provisions, presidential orders, political history and legal mystifications surrounding Article 370 and Article 35A make it difficult to navigate through recent debates about its abrogation in an informed way. This series of three essays by Shrimoyee Nandini Ghosh, lawyer and legal researcher, which we published last year, aimed to be a somewhat eclectic guidebook— at times proffering a no frills step-by-step road map, at others traversing some rather more unfrequented and adventurous legal diversions.
The journey is signposted by some simple questions.
- What is/was Article 370 and Article 35A?
- What just happened to them?
- What does it mean in terms of International Law, Constitutional Law, and rights relating to equality, land and liberties of the people of Jammu and Kashmiri?
- Do these changes matter? To whom do they matter? And why?
Shrimoyee deals with the question of legal implications and consequences, by disaggregating what’s at stake into three jurisdictional scales. The three scales are (i) International, (ii) Domestic (or Constitutional) and (iii) Everyday legality—particularly in areas that are directly effected by the dissolution of Jammu and Kashmir state.
The first essay,’ONE NATION, ONE FLAG,ONE CONSTITUTION?‘ provides a legal-historical guide to terms like 370, 35(a) and the tricks which were played to make these history. In two subsequent essays this series will look at the meanings of these changes and whether these changes matter.
The second essay, ‘INTERNAL? BILATERAL? INTERNATIONAL?’ Shrimoyee deals with international legal questions. What have the changes to the legal status of Kashmir meant in terms of Internationally recognised rights of the Kashmiri people?
In the third and final essay, ‘CONSTITUTIONAL LIES AND THE AFTERLIVES OF LAW’ in Kashmir’ (written in the dark zone of occupied Kashmir), Shrimoyee deals with the claims of “equality and equal treatment of law” have been widely used by supporters of the August 5 Constitutional Amendments, citing Jammu and Kashmir’s differentiated jurisdiction as a constitutional anomaly and a cause of the legal mistreatment of women.