Art 370 scrapped? Not Really: Harish Salve

New Delhi: The government's decision to abrogate Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, evoked mixed response from legal experts on Monday as some hailed it as "historic" and a "long overdue" step while others called it "political misadventure" fraught with danger.

Former Solicitor General and Constitutional expert Harish Salve told a TV channel that the idea that Article 370 was scrapped is a misunderstanding.

The Section 3 of Article 370 -- which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir -- empowers the President to declare the special status inoperative anytime.

"Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this article, the President may, by public notification, declare that this article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify," the Section 3 states.

Using this provision, the government got an order signed by President Ram Nath Kovind that came into force "at once". Salve said the Presidential order appears to be complete, subject to ratification by Parliament.

"That's why I think it is a statutory resolution (a resolution that is binding on the government). So, unless Parliament asks the President to cancel it, that order will prevail. So the constitution, as we speak, applies.

The Article 35A, which was part of the presidential order of 1954, goes away," he added.

Former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee was of the view that "nothing revolutionary has been done (by the government)" as the laws which were not applicable to the state will be applicable now.

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