Srinagar, Dec 5: Amid debate on Article 370 of the Constitution that guarantees 'special status' to Jammu and Kashmir, noted legal luminary and political commentator AG Noorani has asserted that Kashmir's accession to India was "strictly conditional."
In an article written for this newspaper (see page 11), Noorani writes: "Article 370 of the Constitution is based on the Instrument of Accession and explicitly mentions it. That binding condition will cease to exist only on the fulfillment by 'a reference to the people' of the state."
Noorani writes: "India has always claimed that the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India is absolute and legally unconditional, while the letters exchanged between India's Governor-General Lord Mountbatten and the State's Maharaja Hari Singh constitute a political Commitment. A document recently unearthed from the National Achieves of India puts things in perspective. Section 8 (2) of the Indian Independence Act, 1947 empowered the Governors-General of India and Pakistan to make orders to adapt the Government of India Act 1935 to serve as their interim constitution until their respective Constituent Assembly framed their Constitutions."
Noorani also brings up the case of Hyderabad to show that Kashmir is a case of "glaring contrast" where "a hyper-technical stand has been consistently and dishonestly adopted by India in respect of the State of Jammu and Kashmir."