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Legal experts call GoI amendments ‘unconstitutional’

Srinagar, Mar 1: The Government of India’s move to extend the 77th and 103rd Amendments of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir in the absence of an elected government in the state has evoked anger and criticism in the valley, particularly among the legal fraternity, who declare the decree as “fraud of a constitution and questionable.”
The BJP-led government at the Centre on Thursday approved extension of two central constitutional amendments to Jammu and Kashmir on recommendations of Governor Satya Pal Malik for granting reservation in promotions and reservation for economically-weaker sections of the society.
As per the order, reservation will be extended to the people living near to the Line of Control and in close proximity to the International Border.
Terming the order as “unconstitutional”, senior advocate, Zafar Shah said no such amendment can be carried out in the absence of an elected government in the state.
“It (amendment) is questionable as no amendment can be carried out in the constitutional application order particularly when there is presidential rule in the state. It is fraud of the constitution,” he said.
“It will mean that the Governor is acting as an agent of the President and can also give consent on behalf of the government when it is not there in place. The consent given is unconstitutional and so is the application of the amendment,” Shah added.
Claiming the amendment will have serious implication on the special status of state, Shah said the legal fraternity and politicians will challenge the order.
“The amendment is not permissible under Article 370 of the constitution. Different stakeholders, which include both legal and political, are in consultation with each other working out the remedies,” Shah said.
Senior advocate and member of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association, Zafar Amin Qureshi said the amendment suggests eroding of the Article 370, citing it would benefit the non -state subjects largely.
“Through this amendment, reservations have been kept for people living along Line of Control and near International Border, which may also include Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan. 10 per cent reservation for SCs and STs will mostly include people from Ladakh and Hindus as Gujjars are very less in number,” he said.
Qureshi said the amendment without a local government in place was “illegal.”
“First the order reads that the amendment was done on the recommendation of Governor, which is not a legal way. Parliament of India has legislature powers but the amendment cannot be approved until J&K has its elected government,” he said.