The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu has asserted that dilution of Article 370 would strengthen the security, safety and integrity of India and should not be viewed through any other narrow prism. He was delivering the 1st Balramji Dass Tandon Memorial Lecture, at Panjab University in Chandigarh today.
Stating that the state of Jammu and Kashmir has always been an integral part of our country and it would remain so.
The Vice President bemoaned that a section of the western media was indulging in false propaganda on the situation in Kashmir post dilution of Article 370.
In this context, Shri Naidu referred to a news article published by a national daily in 1964, the Vice President said that MPs cutting across party lines including those from ruling party almost unanimously supported a non official resolution seeking abrogation of Article 370.
Reading out details of the news item, Shri Naidu said that the non official resolution moved by Shri Prakash Vir Shastri in Lok Sabha was supported by leaders like Shri Ram Manohar Lohia. Of the 12 members who favoured abrogation of Article 370, seven belonged to the Congress including Inder J Malhotra, Sham Lal Saraf (from J&K) and K Hanumanthaiya, senior Congress leader from Karnataka
He also quoted a report published by another national daily in 1963 in which, the then Prime Minister Shri Jawahar Lal Nehru told the Lok Sabha that the process of gradual erosion of Article 370 was going on and fresh steps were being taken in that direction.
Speaking at the Balram Das Tandon Memorial Lecture in Chandigarh, he said the Parliament took the decision that this transitory provision needs to go and Jammu & Kashmir must be fully integrated with the rest of India. “It is expected that this will pave the way for faster development of this State in the years to come. People across the country are rejoicing over the abrogation of Article 370,” he added.
Calling for a need to tone up administration, speed up judicial reforms and promoting healthy, constructive and meaningful debates in legislatures and Parliament, he said “Discuss, debate and decide…. decentralize and deliver” should become the agenda and the way forward for public representatives.
He also called upon political parties to adopt a code of conduct for people’s representatives including MPs and MLAs for effective functioning of Parliament and Legislatures. He also wanted the parties to incorporate the code of conduct in their election manifestoes.
Shri Naidu said that the legislature, the executive and the judicial processes must become more people-friendly. He stressed the need for taking immediate steps to reduce heavy pendency at courts.
In order to streamline and make justice delivery more effective, the Vice President suggested time bound decisions on election petitions and criminal cases against sitting MPs and MLAs, including disqualification under the anti-defection law.
Shri Naidu also suggested revisiting the 10th Schedule of the Constitution, containing anti-defection provisions, to ensure a time bound disposal of such cases and make it more effective by plugging loopholes.
Shri Naidu said that expanding the Supreme Court bench and having separate benches in different regions on trial basis as suggested by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice would help address the problem of pendency in judiciary and would save huge amount of money and energy of litigants who travel miles to reach Delhi.
The Governor of Punjab, Shri V.P. Singh Badnore, the Minister of State for Commerce & Industry, Shri Som Parkash, the Minister for School Education and Public Works, Punjab, Shri Vijay Inder Singla, the Vice Chancellor of Panjab University, Prof. Raj Kumar and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.