What stops Govt from revoking AFSPA? 

Peoples Democratic Party and the BJP leadership discussed the possibility of lifting the Armed Forces Special Powers Act while framing their common minimum programme. It was expected that the coalition government may lift the draconian law from some places in Kashmir and Jammu region. However, six months after both the parties have refused to take up this issue. In 2011, New Delhi made clear that the state government had the authority to repeal the Disturbed Area Act. However, the state government immediately said that it could not be done without New Delhi’s consent. But legal experts believe that the state government can repeal the draconian Act without consulting New Delhi.
AFSPA became an Act on September 10, 1990, when it got the concurrence of the then governor GC Saxena. Immediately after this, a notification declaring the Valley as disturbed area was issued. In 1992, the president of India repealed the act and enacted Jammu Kashmir Disturbed Area Act. However, the duration of the Act, for which it as enforced, was not mentioned. In 1997, the NC government enacted DAA, declaring whole state as “disturbed.”  However, the duration of the law was only for one year. On October 1998, the NC government allowed it to lapse. The matter was simply forgotten until August 10, 2001. On August 10, 2001, the then principal secretary Home department of the government of Jammu Kashmir issued an order extending DAA to Jammu province as well. The order reads: “Whereas the Governor is of the opinion that the state is in such a disturbed condition that the armed forces in the aid of civil power are necessary to prevent the activities involving terrorists acts directed towards striking terror in the people. Now, therefore, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 3 of the Armed Forces (Jammu Kashmir) Special Powers Act 1990, the Governor hereby declares the districts of Jammu, Kathua, Udhampur, Poonch, Rajouri, and Doda to be disturbed areas in addition to the districts of Srinagar, Budgam, Anantanag, Pulwama, Baramulla and Kupwara stand already so declared.”  But the notification has not specified the time bar. Senior officials of the Home department said the government has to issue notification after the expiry of six months when it reviews the AFSPA. However, they admit that in case of Jammu and Kashmir it has not been followed and notices were not issued. The state government, according to the law department officials, need not to discuss the issue in the legislature. They believe that any government of Jammu and Kashmir can simply withdraw the notification. Once the notification is withdrawn the armed forces shall be bereft of special powers.

 

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