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J&K has no sovereignty: SC (Relevant for GS Prelims and Mains Paper II, Topic: Review of extent of autonomy granted to J&K)

SC clarified the following with regard to autonomy granted to J&K:
Jammu and Kashmir has “no vestige” of sovereignty outside the Indian Constitution, and citizens of the State are “first and foremost” citizens of India, the Supreme Court has held.

Reason for presenting clarification about the autonomy degree granted:
The court made this observation while describing as “wholly incorrect” the conclusion arrived at by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court that the State has “absolute sovereign power” to legislate laws touching the rights of its permanent residents regarding their immovable properties.

The Supreme Court said this while holding that provisions of the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002, are within the legislative competence of Parliament and can be enforced in J&K.

The State Bank of India had appealed against the High Court verdict which held that the SARFAESI Act would collide with the Transfer of Property Act of Jammu & Kashmir, 1920.

HC verdict set aside:
The Bench set aside the verdict of the High Court that held that any law made by Parliament which affects the laws made by a State legislature cannot be extended to Jammu & Kashmir.

Concern in J&K:
The National Conference, which stands for complete restoration of Article 370, fears “violation of State Subject laws”.

Calling for a more nuanced understanding of Article 370, Mr. Mattu said, “The State Bank of India (SBI) per se is not a State subject. However, it has come into being [in J&K] because of the State legislature. It can’t have mortgage rights and violates State Subject laws.”

The J&K government was of the opinion that the SARFAESI Act “encroached upon the property rights of permanent residents of the State” and “would need concurrence of the J&K government under Article 370”.

About SARFAESI Act, 2000:
The Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (also known as the Sarfaesi Act) is an Indian law .It allows banks and other financial institution to auction residential or commercial properties to recover loans.

About Article 370 of the constitution:
Article 370 of the Indian Constitution is a 'temporary provision' which grants special autonomous status to Jammu & Kashmir. Under Part XXI of theConstitution of India, which deals with "Temporary, Transitional and Special provisions", the state of Jammu & Kashmir has been accorded special status underArticle 370.

Provisions of Article 370:
According to this article, except for defence, foreign affairs, finance and communications, Parliament needs the state government's concurrence for applying all other laws. 
Thus the state's residents live under a separate set of laws, including those related to citizenship, ownership of property, and fundamental rights, as compared to other Indians.

Relevance of Article 370:
1.    As a result of this provision, Indian citizens from other states cannot purchase land or property in Jammu & Kashmir. 
2.    Under Article 370, the Centre has no power to declare financial emergency under Article 360 in the state. It can declare emergency in the state only in case of war or external aggression. 
3.    The Union government can therefore not declare emergency on grounds of internal disturbance or imminent danger unless it is made at the request or with the concurrence of the state government.

 



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