Constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir

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Constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir was a body of representatives elected in 1951 to write the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.[1]

Background[edit]

In 1947, British rule in India ended with the creation of two new nations, the Union of India and the Dominion of Pakistan and the abandonment of British suzerainty over the 562 Indian princely states. According to the Indian Independence Act 1947, "the suzerainty of His Majesty over the Indian States lapses, and with it, all treaties and agreements in force at the date of the passing of this Act between His Majesty and the rulers of Indian States",[2] so the states were left to choose whether to join India or Pakistan or to remain independent. Jammu and Kashmir had a predominantly Muslim population but a Hindu ruler, and was the largest of the princely states. Its ruler was the Dogra King Hari Singh.

In October 1947, Pakistani tribals invaded Kashmir intending to liberate it from Dogra rule.[3] Unable to withstand the invasion, the Maharaja signed The Instrument of Accession that was accepted by the Government of India on October 27, 1947.[4] India subsequently sent its forces into Kashmir leading to Indo-Pakistani War of 1947. In January 1948 India moved the U.N. which led to United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 of April 21, 1948. This resolution required among other things that Pakistan withdraw from the areas of Jammu and Kashmir which it had occupied in 1947 immediately and conditions be created for a free and impartial plebiscite to decide the future of the state.[5][6]

Elections[edit]

When the required withdrawal did not occur for several years Jammu & Kashmir National Conference which was the largest political party in the state recommended convening the constituent assembly in a resolution passed on October 27, 1950.[7] On May 1, 1951 Karan Singh then Head of state of Jammu and Kashmir issued a proclamation directing the formation of this assembly. The assembly was to be constituted of elected representatives of the people of the state. For purposes of this election the state was divided into constituencies containing population of 40,000 or as near thereto as possible and each electing one member.[8] The United Nations Security Council stated in its resolution 91 dated March 30, 1951 that it would not consider elections held only in Indian administered Kashmir to be a substitute for a free and impartial plebiscite including the people of the entire state Jammu and Kashmir.[7]

Polls were conducted in Indian administered Kashmir in August–September 1951. Jammu & Kashmir National Conference won 75 seats under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah.[9][10] On October 31, 1951 he addressed the assembly for the first time and called on it to frame the states constitution and to give a 'reasoned conclusion regarding accession'.[11]

Actions[edit]

On February 15, 1954 the assembly members who were present cast a unanimous vote ratifying the state's accession to India.[12][13] Constitution was drafted which came into force on January 26, 1957. Part II, section (3) of the constitution states 'The State of Jammu and Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India'.In 1956 the Constituent Assembly finalised its constitution, which declared the whole of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir to be 'an integral part of the Union of India'. Elections were held the next year for a Legislative Assembly. This section cannot be legally amended as per provisions of Part XII of the constitution.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Fact of the State's Constitution, Rediff.com, 1999-06-04
  2. ^ Revised Statute from The UK Statute Law Database: Indian Independence Act 1947 (c.30) at opsi.gov.uk
  3. ^ Death in the Vale, TIME, 1947-11-10
  4. ^ In 1956 the Constituent Assembly finalised its constitution, which declared the whole of the former Princely State of Jammu and Kashmir to be 'an integral part of the Union of India'. Elections were held the next year for a Legislative Assembly. Detailed constitutional changes were made in later years, which further normalised the state’s relationship with India. Kashmir:Research Paper 04/28 by Paul Bowers, House of Commons Library, United Kingdom, 2004-03-30
  5. ^ A Brief History of Kashmir Conflict, The Daily Telegraph, 2004-11-10
  6. ^ UN Security Council, Resolution 47 (1948) of 21 April 1948, 21 April 1948. S/RES/47 (1948), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  7. ^ a b United Nations Security Council Resolution 91 (1951)of 30 March 1951, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  8. ^ Text of the Proclamation issued by the Head of the Jammu and Kashmir State on 1st May, 1951
  9. ^ J & K : A Historical Perspective Main Events (1947-1997)
  10. ^ Constitution of J&K Assembly
  11. ^ Speech Of the Hon'ble Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah in the Constituent Assembly.
  12. ^ Forgotten day in Kashmir's history, Rediff.com, 2005-03-08
  13. ^ In 1952 the elected and overwhelmingly Muslim Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, led by the popular Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, voted in favor of confirming accession to India. Thereafter, India regarded this vote as an adequate expression of popular will and demurred on holding a plebiscite. GlobalSecurity.org