The Supreme Court of India has made it clear that the state of Jammu and Kashmir does not enjoy any kind of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India.
“It is clear that the state of Jammu & Kashmir has no vestige of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India and its own Constitution, which is subordinate to the Constitution of India… they (residents of state) are governed first by the Constitution of India and also by the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir,” the bench comprising Justices Kurian Joseph and Rohinton Nariman said on Friday while rejecting the Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s view that the J&K Constitution was equal to the Constitution of India.
The SC bench also said that it was ‘disturbing’ to note that various parts of a judgment in appeal by the J&K High Court spoke of the absolute sovereign power of the state.
“It is necessary to reiterate that Section 3 of the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir, which was framed by a Constituent Assembly elected on the basis of universal adult franchise, makes a ringing declaration that the State of Jammu & Kashmir is and shall be an integral part of the Union of India. And this provision is beyond the pale of amendment,” the bench remarked.
The apex court also made it clear that the residents of Jammu and Kashmir are “first and foremost” Indian citizens.
“It is therefore wholly incorrect to describe it as being sovereign in the sense of its residents constituting a separate and distinct class in themselves. The residents of Jammu & Kashmir, we need to remind the High Court, are first and foremost citizens of India… permanent residents of the state of J&K are citizens of India, and that there is no dual citizenship as is contemplated by some other federal Constitutions in other parts of the world,” the bench said.
The SC bench further said that that it was constrained to observe these because in at least three places, the High Court, in its judgment, “has gone out of its way to refer to a sovereignty which does not exist”.