Extending 101st constitutional amendment to JK would abuse Art 370: Legal Experts


Extending 101st constitutional amendment to Jammu and Kashmir for the introduction of Goods and Services Tax (GST) wound amount to abuse of Article 370 of the constitution of India that grants special position to the Jammu and Kashmir state, legal experts here say. 
“By giving consent to the application of 101st constitutional amendment, the state government will reduce the power of the state assembly to make laws,” senior advocate Z A Shah told Greater Kashmir. He said the extension of this amendment to the state would amount to abuse of the mechanism contemplated by Article 370 of the constitution of India.
“There is no reason as to why the state legislature cannot make its own laws and the government, of course, if committed to uphold the existing constitutional position should resist application of the laws to the state which take away its constitutional autonomy.” 
Shah said that during last nearly seven decades “the successive governments in state consented to the application of various amendments made in Constitution of India, with or without, modifications to the state and none of the governments has withdrawn consent and decided to make its own law.” 
Even for the application of infamous Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act, (TADA), the state government consented to the application of the law, when such law could have been enacted by state legislature, he said. 
Senior Advocate S T Hussain told Greater Kashmir: “Under article 370, J&K state has a special position and in all fiscal matters, the state legislature has primacy. 
“The real purpose of GST is to homogenize entire India. It is rather a political ploy than an economic innovative exercise, so question of the identity and distinctiveness of the J&K state should be foremost concern of the political parties,” he said. 
In J&K state, he said, “GST has no great significance of remunerative or beneficial effect and it would be viewed from political angularities.
“As such what is expected is that it will be a difficult task to reach consensus on this issue. This will generate rather fishy tendencies,” he said. 
Pertinently, while service tax was levied all over India since 1994, it was not applicable in J&K. Unlike other states, J&K has the power to levy services in the state. This is because Article 370 of the Constitution grants special autonomous status to the state and Parliament of India has power to make laws only on defence, external affairs and communication related matters of the state. 
For most of the states implementation of GST law was just a question of surrendering certain taxation rights to the centre but for Jammu and Kashmir it is believed to be a matter of the constitutional right of financial autonomy.

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