The Supreme Court of India’s verdict upholding the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status under Article 370 of the Constitution is undoubtedly a political boost to the ruling BJP.
However, the verdict raises concerns about the erosion of federalism in India. The Court’s interpretation of the President’s power under President’s Rule to bypass the State legislature and act on its behalf sets a dangerous precedent that could be applied to other states, including Nagaland, potentially undermining their autonomy. The verdict raises concerns about the Court’s willingness to uphold federalism and democratic norms, which could also influence its interpretation of Article 371(A) in the future.
The verdict is a retreat from the Supreme Court’s previous positions on democratic norms. The rushed process and lack of consultation with the people of Jammu and Kashmir raise concerns about transparency and accountability. The top court’s rationale that J&K’s special status was merely a temporary arrangement and that its integration was an ongoing process ignores the historical context and agreements that led to J&K’s accession to India. This could have implications for Nagaland’s special status under Article 371(A), which also arose from historical agreements.
The verdict creates uncertainty about the future of special provisions for states like Nagaland. While Article 371(A) is different from Article 370, the Court’s broad interpretation of the President’s power and its reasoning about historical context might be used to legitimize future attempts to erode Nagaland’s special rights.
The Supreme Court’s verdict on Article 370 has raised concerns for Nagaland and its special provisions under Article 371(A). While the verdict is specific to J&K, it sets a precedent that could have broader implications for Indian federalism and the rights of states. The Nagaland government, political parties, and civil society should closely monitor the situation, remain vigilant and take proactive measures to protect their autonomy and special provisions.