“It is now a final article which nobody can touch,” eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani said in 2014 on the now abrogated Article 370.
The senior Supreme Court Jethmalani passed away at the age of 95 on morning of Sunday, 8 September.
“Article 370 is a part of the basic structure of the Constitution because we have incorporated it in accordance of the wishes of the then Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir,” Jethmalani had said in November 2014.
The Centre effectively revoked Article 370 which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government also announced bifurcation of the erstwhile state, changing the status of the Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh into Union Territories.
“It is now a final article which nobody can touch. It is the understanding of the Kashmir Committee that this kind of a thing (repealing of Article 370) is out of question.”Ram Jethmalani
‘If You Don’t Like Amendments, Vomit It Out, but Democratically’
Jethmalani said that the successive state governments in Jammu and Kashmir never raised any objections to modifications made to the Article from time to time, PTI reported.
“There were no objections from JK government ever to any modifications on Article 370. If you do not like any amendments, vomit it out, but democratically.”
‘Explained Article 370 to PM, BJP Kept Quiet’
The former BJP leader said he had explained the importance of the Article 370 to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP has "kept quiet" about it since then.
“BJP was always talking about Article 370, some of them don’t even understand the Constitution of India at all. Modi has been explained the importance of Article 370 and that it cannot be repealed. I have told him to explain it to the BJP people to not speak about it. The BJP has kept quiet.”
He also said, “Unfortunately, when they came to power, a minister, who is from Jammu, talked about its repeal and please take it that Modi gave him a tongue-lashing and told him that never again talk about it. He has since then not talked about it.”
Jethmalani said the people of Jammu and Kashmir were "not living under the Constitution of India but their own Constitution and in a way enjoyed a plebiscite".
"The usual slogan is that India had promised the will of the people should be determined by a plebiscite. References are given to the UN resolution.”
“It is true that the UN did order a plebiscite but it was to take place when the last intruder from Pakistan vacated the whole of Jammu and Kashmir, including that portion that today is not in our occupation. That thing never happened. The plebiscite was to take place under the Indian flag over the whole of the state.”
He said the promise was to the generation that existed at that time and the promise was not to the totally changed populace.
"The Constitution of this state was not formulated by the constituent assembly of India, but by its constituent assembly itself. That was a plebiscite. It is the constituent assembly of JK which incorporated some provisions of the Indian Constitution. The plebiscite has therefore taken place," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)