WhatsApp Article F itself is a constitution for the state of Sikkim within the Indian constitution. In light of the growing importance of this Article, which has been a major challenge for all of us and especially the younger generation to have the right perspective and thought process on this issue. The importance and concern for this provision are growing in manifold after the centre abrogated Article , a special provision with respect to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and also some of the vested interests in Sikkim has been trying to misinform the public. When Sikkim was on the verge of a merger with India in the year , the union government had unambiguously decided to accept different terms and condition laid down by the leaders of Sikkim, including the protection to the old laws of Sikkim in the form of the codified insertion of Article F.
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WhatsApp Article F itself is a constitution for the state of Sikkim within the Indian constitution. In light of the growing importance of this Article, which has been a major challenge for all of us and especially the younger generation to have the right perspective and thought process on this issue. The importance and concern for this provision are growing in manifold after the centre abrogated Article , a special provision with respect to the state of Jammu and Kashmir and also some of the vested interests in Sikkim has been trying to misinform the public.
When Sikkim was on the verge of a merger with India in the year , the union government had unambiguously decided to accept different terms and condition laid down by the leaders of Sikkim, including the protection to the old laws of Sikkim in the form of the codified insertion of Article F. So, before we delve into the factual narration of the different clauses enumerated into various sub-clauses of F of the Indian Constitution, let us have a look at what the Notwithstanding Clause says.
So, if the provision of Article F is contrary to the other provision of the Constitution, then in that case Article F will prevail over other provisions. Non-obstante clause is a protective cover incorporated in a view that old laws protected under Article F do not get struck down as unconstitutional, merely because it does not satisfy the requirement of the Constitution of India. In this context, Article 37 F extends total protection to a matter listed in clauses a to p through a non-obstante clause.
Legislative Assembly. The SLA which was formed in the aftermath of the election held on April , culminated into the passage of the 36th Constitutional Amendment Act, wherein Clause F was inserted in the existing Article and the power of the members of the legislative assembly was determined in accordance with the Constitution of India. Term of the State Legislative Assembly. Clause c : Amendment was made on 9th May , where the term of the Sikkim Assembly was made for 4 years.
However, this clause though unequivocally states that the state legislature shall have the term of four years but such prevailing practice of 5 years term period of the state legislature has been overlapping the special provision.
The Writ Petition on this is also pending before the High Court of Sikkim, wherein the Petitioner, Vivek Basnet had prayed for having electoral rights only to the Sikkim subject holders and also prayed that the election in the SLA to be held as per Clause c of Article F , that is for the period of four years.
Reservation of seats in Legislative Assembly for different sections of society in Sikkim. Clause f : Among many contentious clauses, Clause f is a sacrosanct clause where almost all the political leaders of Sikkim used to hobnob by promising seats to different sections and communities in the state Assembly.
This Clause has given power to the Parliament with a view to protect the rights and interests of different sections of the population of Sikkim and to make changes in the seats of SLA if the Parliament is of the opinion that particular section of the communities is not adequately represented. This is in a way a unique feature in the entire country where only the candidates belonging to certain communities shall be entitled to stand for the election.
The Court while dealing with a petition in R. Poudyal vs. Union of India , which had then challenged the constitutional validity of Article F f which has granted reservation of 12 seats to the member of Bhutia and Lepcha communities and reserved 1 seat as a Sangha Constituency- based purely on the religious lines.
The majority judges by while affirming this clause held that due to the effect of the non-obstinate clause Article F f is a departure from Article 3 of the constitution which requires that the number of seats shall be reserved proportionate to the population. Further, while upholding Clause f the court said when the reservation is made by Parliament for only one section, then the Parliament must have exercised their power respecting the other sections stipulated under Article F f.
Clause h empowered all the property vested with the kingdom to the state of Sikkim to be part of the Indian union. High Court and its subordinates. Subba, he states that the Sikkim High Court established in the year was then made final court in all judicial matters, civil or criminal, subject to the exercise of prerogative by the Maharaja to grant mercy, pardon, remission, etc in case of conviction. Subsequently, post-merger, Clause i was inserted, in which the High Court functioning immediately prior to the date of merger became the High court for the state of Sikkim under the Constitution like any other High Courts in the country, and all the subordinate courts started exercising its jurisdiction as per the provision of the Constitution.
The Supreme Court in state of Sikkim Vs. As mentioned, this was to be done before , if the President feels that the old laws are not in consonance with the constitution of India. No doubt, some of the old laws are inconsistent with the provision of the Constitution, but in order to accord equanimity with the constitution, if in case of any need, President of India was vested with the special power to make adaptation and modification to be exercised within the period of 2 years from the appointed day.
Under Clause n the President can exercise his power to extend any enactment in Sikkim, which is in force in any other state of India Jurisdiction of Courts in a matter arising out from treaties and agreement: Clause m distinctively bars the courts entertaining any dispute arising out of the treaty, agreement or any instrument relating to the state that was executed before the merger of the state.
Therefore, it states that even the Supreme Court shall not have any power to entertain any such dispute arising out of the treaty, etc. But the power of the President to consult the Supreme Court shall not be curtailed under Article of the Indian Constitution. The High Court in its judgement authored by Justice A. Subba held- Treaty of cannot be termed as law or Ordinance or instrument within the purview of Article F k of the Constitution — In terms of the provisions of law contained in Article F m , this Court has no jurisdiction in respect of any dispute arising out of the related Treaty of — Treaty of cannot override the related constitutional provision laid down under Article F of the Constitution of India.
Conclusion With all the promises coming from political leaders to protect Article F and to safeguard the Sikkimese identity, on the other hand, we should not forget that the responsibility to protect the sanctity of this provision is not just vested with the leaders, but the Sikkimese society and its people who are blended with clarity on these vital issues.
By Pramit Chettri. He can be contacted via his email id pramitchhetri gmail. The views expressed in this article are intended for the sole purpose of generating public debate and eliciting a public response.
Explained: What are Articles 370 and 35A?
A question arises at this point: Is Jammu and Kashmir the only state to enjoy special powers under the constitution? Both these Articles have existed from the time the constitution was adopted in However, the parliament, under powers granted by Article , added a number of constitutional provisions under Article to grant special powers and privileges to as many as nine other states. The state can have its own administrative and legal mechanisms based on the Naga customary laws, and the right to carry on religious and local social practices. People can have land ownership and the right to transfer land and other resources as per local practices. The provision also grants special powers to the governor to overrule the decision of the chief minister on a law and order situation. There is also Article B, meant for Assam.
Sikkim’s Article 371 (F) delivering a special constitution within the Indian Constitution
It included a new Article F containing following special provisions with respect to Sikkim - 1. The Sikkim Legislative Assembly is to consist of not less than 30 members. For the purpose of protecting the rights and interests of the different sections of the Sikkim population, the Parliament is empowered to provide for - i number of seats in the Sikkim Legislative Assembly which may be filled by candidates belonging to such sections; and ii delimitation of the Assembly constituencies from which candidates belonging to such sections alone may stand for election to the Assembly. The Governor shall have special responsibility for peace and for an equitable arrangement for ensuring the social and economic advancement of the different sections of the Sikkim population. In the discharge of this responsibility, the Governor shall act in his discretion,subject to the directions issued by the President. The President can extend with restrictions or modifications to Sikkim any law which is in force in a state of the Indian Union. Mizoram - Article G provides following special provisions - 1.
Article 371 of the Constitution
The main objectives behind the Article granting special provisions to some states are to meet the unique needs of the backward regions of these states, protect the economic and cultural interests of these regions, combat the local challenges and protect the customary laws in these regions. Article — Provision for Gujarat and Maharashtra This article provides special powers to the governors of Gujarat and Maharashtra to create independent development boards for Vidarbha, Marathwada and the rest of Maharashtra and Saurashtra, Kutch and the rest of Gujarat. It gives room to provide more facilities for employment opportunities, vocational and technical education in the state. Article B — Special provisions for Assam This article empowers the President to include a committee of the elected tribal representatives of the Assam Legislative Assembly for the constitution. Article C — Special provisions for Manipur It provides for creating a committee for the constitution and functions of the legislative assembly with the members elected from the hilly regions of the state. The governor will have the responsibility to secure the powers of this committee and the central government can instruct the state government on the administration of the hilly areas.