Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Monday said the people of Jammu and Kashmir had chosen a “democratic system” by acceding to India in 1947.
“When the situation in the entire sub-continent was very bad, people of the state, by acceding to the Union , chose a democratic system based on shared ideals of democracy, tolerance and mutual trust,” Mehbooba said in her address on the eve of India’s Independence Day .
She said constitutional position enjoyed by the state provided “a sound basis of cooperation, mutual trust and tolerance between the people of the state and rest of the country.”
The statement comes as the fate of Article 35A of the Indian Constitution, which prohibits a non-J&K resident from buying property in the State and ensures job reservation for J&K residents, hangs in balance.
The Supreme Court is hearing a Public Interest Litigation petition seeking that the Article be struck down as the state government has been using it to discriminate against non-residents .
Mehbooba said special status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir was “unparalleled and the result of reciprocity of the sentiments of the people of the State and rest of the country following the accession of 1947.
Protecting and strengthening it was “the collective responsibility of all of us,” she said.
“The extensive legislative powers enjoyed by the State Legislature, which are comparable to none in the country, were exemplified recently during the GST Act formulation. The House debated the issues and the Presidential Order on the subject also ratified the Legislative competence and authority of our Assembly,” she said .