Making of the State Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir
It has already been explained how from the beginning it was declared by the Government of India that, notwithstanding the Accession of the State of Jammu & Kashmir to India by the then Ruler, the future Constitution of # the State as well as its relationship with India were to be finally determined by an elected Constituent a e ons i u ion. Assembly of the State. With these objects in view, the people of the State elected a sovereign Constituent Assembly which met for the first time on October 31, 1951.
The Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 1954, which setded the constitutional relationship of the State of Jammu & Kashmir, did not disturb the previous assurances as regards the framing of the internal Constitution of the State by its own people. While the Constitution of the other Part B States was laid down in Part VII of the Constitution of India (as promulgated in 1950), the State Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir was to be framed by the Constituent Assembly of that State. In other words, the provisions governing the Executive, Legislature and Judiciary of the State of Jammu & Kashmir were to be found in the Constitution drawn up by the people of the State and the corresponding provisions of the Constitution of India were not applicable to that State.
The first official act of the Constituent Assembly of the State was to put an end to the hereditary princely rule of the Maharaja. It was one of the conditions of the acceptance of the accession by the Government of India that the Maharaja would introduce popular Government in the State. In pursuance of this understanding, immediately after the Accession, the Maharaja invited Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, President of the All Jammu & Kashmir National Conference, to form an interim Government, and to carry on the administration of the State. The interim Government later changed into a full-fledged Cabinet, with Sheikh Abdullah as the first Prime Minister. The Abdullah Cabinet, however, would not rest content with anything short of the abdication of the ruling Maharaja Sir Hari Singh. In June 1949, thus, Maharaja Hari Singh was obliged to abdicate in favour of his son Yuvaraj Karan Singh. The Yuvaraj was later elected by the Constituent Assembly of the State (which came into existence on October 31, 1951) as the ‘Sadar-i-Riyasaf. Thus, came to an end the princely rule in the State of Jammu & Kashmir and the head of the State was henceforth to be an elected person. The Government of India accepted this position by making a Declaration of the President under Art. 370(3) of the Constitution (15th November, 1952) to the effect that for the purposes of the Constitution, ‘Government’ of the State of Jammu & Kashmir shall mean the Sadar-i- Riyasat of Jammu & Kashmir, acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers of the State. Subsequently, however, the name of Sadar-i-Riyasat has been changed to that of Governor.
We have already seen that in February, 1954, the Constituent Assembly of Jammu & Kashmir ratified the State’s Accession to India, thus fulfilling the moral assurance given in this behalf by the Government of India, and also that this act of the Constituent Assembly was followed up by the promulgation by the President of India of the Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order, 1954, placing on a final footing the applicability of the provisions of the Constitution of India governing the relationship between the Union and this State.
The making of the State Constitution for the internal governance of the State was now the only task left to the Constituent Assembly. As early as November, 1951, the Constituent Assembly had made the Jammu & Kashmir Constitution (Amendment) Act, which gave legal recognition to the transfer of power from the hereditary Maharaja to the popular Government headed by an elected Sadar-i-Riyasat. For the making of the permanent Constitution of the State, the Constituent Assembly set up several Committees and in October, 1956, the Drafting Committee presented the Draft Constitution, which after discussion, was finally adopted on November 17, 1957, and given effect to from January 26, 1957. The State ofJammu & Kashmir thus acquired the distinction of having a separate Constitution for the administration of the State, in place of the provisions of Part VI of the Constitution of India which govern all the other State of the Union.