Gangtokian News Desk: The Indian Centre, in a recent development, has affirmed its commitment to preserving the special provisions enshrined in the Constitution for the northeastern states of the country. The assurance was provided before a Constitution bench led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud, as the Centre addressed a plea urging the assessment of the implications of Article 370’s abrogation on the special provisions of Article 371.
During the hearing, the solicitor general (SG) Tushar Mehta conveyed the Centre’s stance, underscoring that there are no intentions to alter the constitutionally granted status and safeguards for the northeastern states. Mehta’s statement serves to clarify the government’s position and put to rest any concerns regarding the future of these special provisions.
The bench, in response to the plea’s request to extend the scope of Article 370 discussions to encompass Article 371’s special provisions for northeastern states, made a clear distinction between the two provisions. Mehta highlighted the dissimilarity between the temporary nature of Article 370 and the enduring special provisions outlined under Article 371.
Mehta stated, “We must understand the difference between a temporary provision like Article 370 and special provisions under Article 371. I am saying this on instructions that the central government has no intention of touching any part relating to the special provisions for states in the northeast.”
Context and Implications
Senior counsel Manish Tewari, representing a former Congress legislator from Arunachal Pradesh, contended that the process of Article 370’s nullification could have profound implications on the unique federal structure integrated into the Constitution to integrate the northeastern states into the Indian Union. Tewari highlighted that even minor apprehensions could have significant ramifications in the region, citing the ongoing violence in Manipur.
The Constitution bench’s hearing not only delved into the specific matter of special provisions for northeastern states but also emphasized the distinctiveness of Article 371 compared to Article 370. The Court’s attention to this differentiation underscores the significance of preserving the unique status accorded to various states within the framework of the Indian Constitution.
The assertion that the special provisions will remain unaffected has been met with skepticism by social media users pointing out the recent Finance Act of 2023, which some argue has diluted the definition of terms pertinent to Sikkim’s unique status.
The Supreme Court’s recent proceedings on the plea regarding the impact of Article 370’s abrogation on Article 371’s special provisions have highlighted the Centre’s steadfast commitment to upholding the rights and safeguards of the northeastern states. As legal discussions continue, the Court’s scrutiny of the distinct provisions further underscores the importance of preserving the individual characteristics and federal dynamics of India’s diverse states.
Gangtokian Web Team, 24/08/23