India Parliament

India’s move to strip Kashmir of special rights is likely to face legal challenges, constitutional experts and Supreme Court lawyers said, with some questioning the legality of the route used to make the change. New Delhi’s action also provoked condemnation in Pakistan, which has disputed sovereignty over Kashmir with India for decades. India’s revocation of the Himalayan territory’s special status is a bid to fully integrate its only Muslim-majority state with the rest of the country. Indian home minister Amit Shah said the government would scrap the constitution’s Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir state and allows permanent residents rights to property, state government jobs and college places. To do so, it used a provision under Article 370 of the constitution that allows the law to be tweaked by a presidential order — provided there is consensus in the constituent assembly of Jammu and Kashmir. One problem, though, is that the constituent assembly was dissolved in 1956. The government has tweaked another constitutional article so that a reference in Article 370 to “constituent assembly of the state” becomes “legislative assembly of the state.” The legality of that move, the lawyers said, could be questioned in court. Furthermore, New Delhi said all the changes were agreed to by the state government. And that, some lawyers say, could be another issue for the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi as there currently is no government in Jammu and Kashmir. For the past year the state has been under…

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