The Union Government told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that it has absolutely no intention to interfere with the special provisions applicable to North Eastern states or other parts of India.
Solicitor General of India, Tushar Mehta made this statement in response to submissions made by Senior Advocate Manish Tiwari, who, representing a politician from Arunachal Pradesh, voiced apprehensions about taking away the special provisions applicable to North Eastern states in the manner in which Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was repealed. He pointed out that like Article 370, there are provisions in the Constitution like Article 371 and the 6th Schedule which envisage special provisions for North Eastern states.
Advocate Tiwari had argued that after Independence, India had decided to manage its periphery through Constitutional guarantees “because we were building a republic”.
“That is how Article 370, which applies to Jammu and Kashmir, Article 371, the six sub parts of which apply to North East and the sixth schedule of Constitution which applies to Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya, becomes relevant in this matter,” he said.
Advocate Tiwari said “even a slight apprehension in the periphery of India can have serious implications” and also pointed to the ongoing unrest in Manipur which has claimed over 150 lives.
In a sharp response to the arguments, Mehta said “I have instructions to say this. We must understand the difference between temporary provision which is Article 370 and special provisions with regards to the north east. The Central government has no intention to touch any part which gives special provisions to North East and other regions”.
The Supreme Court took the Centre’s submission on record, with Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud asking Mr Tiwari to confine arguments to Jammu and Kashmir.
The centre’s submission, the Chief Justice said, must dispel any apprehension. The Constitution bench said it will not hold the hearing over apprehensions and it will not enter any other matter other than the one dealing with Article 370.