Many Kashmiri politicians have been saying that there was no Constituent Assembly in place in J&K when Article 370 was removed on August 5, 2019.They argue only with the consultation and recommendations of the Constituent Assembly of J&K, Article 370 could have been amended.
The Constituent Assembly got disbanded itself in 1957. Thus, they say, the government had no legal argument to revoke Article 370 and the Supreme Court should strike it down and restore Article 370.
The government, however, argues that the Legislative Assembly of J&K in absence of the Constituent Assembly is deemed to be the Constituent Assembly of J&K and consultation with the J&K Assembly is deemed to be consultation with Constituent Assembly. But the Legislative Assembly was already dissolved much before August 5, 2019, when Article 370 was abrogated. There was no Legislative Assembly.
The government seems to argue that it deemed the Governor of J&K as the Legislative Assembly of J&K, which it had already deemed as the Constituent Assembly of J&K. Hence with the consultation or recommendation of the Governor changes were made in Article 370.
But now who was the Governor of J&K, who was deemed the Legislative Assembly and that was deemed as a Constituent Assembly of J&K: None other than Satya Pal Malik. So, partly half of the legal case of Article 370 at present is on the shoulders of Satya Pal Malik and if he gives a slight shrug he can bring the case down much before the Supreme Court decides to hear the case.
Satya Pal Malik, former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, presently Governor of Meghalaya Malik was seen in a video saying that he met Prime Minister Modi to discuss the farm laws but he found the Prime Minister arrogant.
"When I met Prime Minister Modi on the farmers' issue, I fought with him within 5 minutes. He was very arrogant. When I said that 500 farmers have died, he asked 'Did they die for me?'. I said that yes, you are king because of them. He told me to meet Amit Shah," said Malik.
Malik is not unknown to giving controversial statements since he was shifted from J&K to Goa. In fact, being Governor J&K brought Malik to the media limelight. Malik had a gubernatorial stint from the Raj Bhavan in Patna, Bihar, between September 2017 and August 2018. He wasn’t this famous till he was posted in Srinagar’s Raj Bhawan.
He moved to Srinagar in August 2018 and it was under his Governorship the abrogation of Article 370 happened and J&K was bifurcated into the two union territories, J&K and Ladakh. He has given many statements but not anyone about Article 370 and its abrogation and his role in it.
He was made governor of Goa in November 2019. In the same month after taking charge of Governor of Goa, he said he still had a "hangover" of Kashmir. He quoted from Pakeezah: “Aaj ki raat bachenge to sehar dekhenge''. But that statement can be construed as in a lighter vein.
Later in a speech in March 2020 in Goa, he said a day before Article 370 was abrogated, he got a call from the then Chief Secretary whom he quoted as saying that more than 1,000 people might get killed once the state will be stripped of its special status.
“I was told 1,000 people will get killed (after the abrogation of Article 370),” Malik had said. This is the only prominent statement he has given about Article 370.
In August 2020 he was shifted to Shillong as governor of Meghalaya. In the same month, he said when he was in Kashmir, “terrorists didn’t dare to enter a radius of 50 kilometres around Srinagar”.
“Jab mei tha udhar, tab kuchh nahin ho raha tha, na pattharbaazi ho rahi thi, na hi bharti ho rahi thi, na koi mar raha tha… Terrorist Srinagar ke pachaas kilometre ke daayre mein ghusne ki himmat nahi karte the. Ab toh woh maar rahe hain shehr mein khule aam,” Malik told reporters on the sidelines of an event that he attended in Rajasthan’s Jhunjhunu district. This could be construed as normal statement.
But in another statement in the same speech, he said: “Two files came before me in Jammu and Kashmir. One of them pertained to Ambani and another to a senior RSS functionary. One of the Secretaries told me these are fraud files but he also said you can get Rs 150 crore each in the two deals. I rejected the offer saying I have come with five `kurtas and will go with them only,” Malik.
Thus he claimed he was offered Rs 300 crore bribe to clear files belonging to “Ambani” and an “RSS-linked man” and nothing happened to him. An impression in Kashmir is that the government is tolerating Malik because he holds the key to the government’s legal framework under which Article 370 was removed.
What if Malik, who was deemed to be Legislative Assembly in absence of Legislative Assembly, which was deemed as Constituent Assembly of J&K, in absence of Constituent Assembly of J&K, says he was not consulted or he hasn’t recommended abrogation of Article 370?