NEW Delhi: The now-scrapped Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, was meant to be a “temporary” provision since the beginning and the framers of the Constitution had put it there “intelligently”, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Monday.
Inaugurating a training programme on legislative drafting, Shah also said that if a legislation is drafted well, there is “no need for any court to give any explanation to any law”. If the drafting is simple and clear, it will also be easier to educate people about the law with minimal chances of errors by the executive, he said and added that if “grey areas” are left in the drafting, they will lead to “encroachment” in interpretation. Shah said if the drafting is complete and lucid, its interpretation will also be clear.
Referring to Article 370, which the BJP government at the Centre repealed in 2019, the home minister said the whole country wanted that the provision of the Constitution should not be in existence. He also highlighted that when the Article was framed, it was mentioned in the index as “Temporary Provision of Article 370”. Even debates on the Article were missing from the records of constituent assembly debates, Shah said and added that they were not printed.
Shah said it could well be imagined that whoever had drafted it and those who were part of the constituent assembly, how intelligently they put it and how after lots of thought the “temporary” word was inserted.
“An article of the Constitution cannot be temporary, it can be amended. If you read it even today — the old Constitution, it is clearly written as Temporary Provision of Article 370,” he said.
“Article 370 is no longer in existence. It has been repealed now. But please read it. It was mentioned in the index as ‘Temporary Provision of Article 370’. If this ‘temporary’ word was not written, what would have happened. Tell me, can a provision of the Constitution be ‘temporary’,” he asked.
The Article was scrapped on August 5, 2019, a few months after Shah took charge as the country’s home minister, and the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir was bifurcated into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
The home minister said that a “legislation should reflect the political will of the Cabinet or Parliament”. “A law becomes undisputed if it is simple and clear. It (a law) should be framed in a way that the court does not need to make any explanation. When there is no need for any court to give any explanation to any law, that is a medal for you. Our aim has to be to draft a law as simple and clear as possible,” Shah said.
When a law is made with ambiguities, it creates problems, the minister said and added that “if a law is made simple and clear, there is no need for the judiciary to intervene as grey areas leave scope for overstepping”.
He said drafting of “the spirit of the legislature” is very significant work as simple translation is not sufficient and there has to be a proper explanation for it.
The home minister said the drafting skill of those who work in the legislative wing of Parliament and of state legislatures should be improved because the world is changing very rapidly.
Appreciating Parliament authorities for holding the training session, he said capacity building is very necessary and it has to be a continuous process. “We have to take proper action in this changing world and the laws have to be made according to today’s requirements. If we don’t have that kind of openness, we will be irrelevant,” Shah said.
The home minister also said the BJP government under Narendra Modi has made lots of changes in laws. “We have scrapped nearly 2,000 irrelevant laws. Also, we have not hesitated to frame new laws,” Shah said.
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