Sheikh and the Kashmir constitution

He wanted to empower his own people

Muhammad Nazir Fida
Publish Date: Dec 11 2012 12:00PM

Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah was a towering leader of the national movement in our state for more than five decades. Without his mention, the constitutional history of our state is incomplete. He was the voice of the people desirous to give this state a democratic constitution. In the freedom struggle the birth of constituent Assembly under the leadership of Sheikh Abdullah was an extraordinary event for the establishment of democracy in our State. In order to put this fact into reality, on 27th of October 1950, the General Council of National Conference recommended, 
               “to the Supreme National Executive of the people to take immediate steps for convening a Constituent Assembly based upon adult suffrage and embracing all Sections of people and all the constituents of the State for the purpose of determining the future shape and  affiliations of the State of Jammu and kashmir. In this sovereign Assembly embodying the supreme will of the people of the State, we shall give our selves and our childern a constitution worthy of the traditions of our free¬struggle and in accordance with the principles of NAYA-KASHMIR.”                 
Against odds Sheikh Abdullah succeeded in forming the Constituent Assembly as per his promise and aspirations of the people of this state. Drafting a constitution for the state would definitely take a considerable time. Everyone can't do it. One has to be well acquainted with other constitutions of the democratic countries. We have to know the facts. The constitution of  India is the mixture of different constitutions of the world and it took 2 years 11 months and 18 days for its making and most of us know this fact that Constituent Assembly was constituted in November 1949 under Cabinet Mission Plan. So in the first instance Working Committee was formed here in order to discuss the issues relating to the Constitution and its application to the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Unfortunately there was no consensus on different issues between the members which became the cause of inordinate delay. Sheikh Abdullah was wise enough to understand the pros and cons of the different provisions of Constitution of India in case they are copied ditto for incorporating them in Jammu and Kashmir Constitution. Sheikh Sahib's difference of opinion existed on two issues guaranteeing the Fundamental Rights to the people of Jammu and Kashmir as enshrined in Constitution of India and also the necessity of investing the Supreme Court with the authority to enforce these rights. In order to pave the way for giving good constitution to the state of Jammu and Kashmir a sub-committee comprising of 8 persons was established with Mirza  Afzal Beig as its member and Justice Shahmiri as constitutional Adviser. The task became tougher day by day till the day arrived when Sheikh Abdullah the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir was arrested on 9th August 1953. It was the desire of Sheikh Abdullah to guarantee a Constitution in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
He devoted all his life for the betterment of people of Kashmir. For which he will always be remembered.

(Muhammad Nazir Fida is the Former Principal District & Sessions Judge)