Srinagar, November 3: Stating Jammu and Kashmir’s “accession” to India is “limited in scope and not absolute”, the present PDP-BJP government ruling in the state is likely to submit a draft before Supreme Court today. The draft defend Article 35 A of the Constitution, which grants special rights and privileges to permanent residents of J&K
The draft to be submitted by Jammu and Kashmir Government seeks dismissal of the petition by an RSS-backed think tank that challenges the constitutional validity of Article 35A. It states that Maharaja Hari Singh “as a ruler of the princely state of J&K, wanted to remain independent, and he “signed the Instrument of Accession with Dominion of India as a last resort to save his state from tribal invaders”.
The petition was filed by Sandeep Kulkarni, president of a Delhi-based non-governmental organisation called ‘We the Citizens’. The petition was filed more than a year ago and was listed before the apex court registry on November 3.
The objection stated by J&K Government are formulated and settled by the advocate general in consultation with the Law Department and vetted at the highest level in the government. J&K advocate general Jahangir Iqbal Ganai will represent the state today before the apex court. The sources also indicate that the government might make last minute modifications in the draft objections before Supreme Court on November 3.
The draft formulated by state’s government will defend the existence of Article 35 and Article 370 of Indian Constitution providing Special status to Jammu and Kashmir. It also refers to the 1856 Treaty of Amritsar, under which the Kashmir valley was bought from East India Company by Maharaja Gulab Singh for a paltry sum of Rs 75 lakh.
Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state and it did not accede to either Dominion of India or Pakistan. The ruler of J&K chose to remain independent and offered to sign a standstill agreement with both India and Pakistan…, read the draft objections.
The accession was signed in view of the needed assistance from India when on 20 Oct 1947, armed tribesmen invaded Kashmir with an intention to liberate it from Dogra rule. Maharaja Hari Singh was unable to withstand the invasion. He, then approached Dominion of India for military help but the Governor General of India conveyed “its inability to deploy the Indian Army” in absence of a “formal accession” by the ruler. With a thought that accession will save the state, Maharaja approached the Dominion of India to accept the accession. While accepting the Instrument of Accession, signed on October 26, 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh made it clear in his “letter of acceptance” that as soon as law and order would be restored in Kashmir and her soil cleared of the invader, the question of the state’s accession would be settled by “a reference to the people”, the Draft further explains.
The record of the copies of Instrument of Accession signed on October 26, 1947; the Government of India Act, 1935; Cabinet Mission, 1946; Mountbatten Plan, 1947; Indian Independence Act, 1947; and India (Provisional Constitution) Order, 1947; are also being placed along with draft objection as annexures and as the supporting historical documents to prove the point that “scope of accession was limited and not absolute”.