New Delhi: Ruling out a return to the pre-1953 position, Centre's interlocutors on Thursday recommended setting up of a Constitutional Committee to review all Acts and Articles of the Constitution of India extended to Jammu and Kashmir and upholding of Article 370.

The report of the interlocutors--Dileep Padgaonkar, Radha Kumar and M M Ansari-- underlined that "the clock cannot be set back" but felt that the 'erosion' of Article 370 over decades needed to be "re-appraised" to give it more powers.

In their 176-page report, made public today, they have called for a review of all Central Acts and all Articles of the Constitution of India extended to the state after the 1952 Delhi agreement which also gave special status to the state under Article 370.

"This does not mean a pure and simple return to the pre-1953 situation. The clock cannot be set back. Instead, the group wants such a review to take into full account the changes that have taken place in the last six decades," the report said.

In the pre-1953 era, the Centre's jurisdiction was mainly restricted to Defence, External Affairs, Communication and Finance. The 1952 agreement between the Centre and Sheikh Abdullah enabled extension of all the central acts, Articles of Constitution of India including Supreme Court and hoisting of Indian tri-colour along with the state flag.

Significantly, the state assembly passed a resolution in 2000 demanding among other things rescinding of all central legislation except Defence, Finance, Telecom and External Affairs, which was rejected by the Union Government.

In a move aimed at strengthening of Article 370, the interlocutors report demanded deletion of the word 'temporary' from its heading in the Constitution and replacing it with 'special' as has been used in Article 371 in the case of some states.

A similar recommendation was made in the autonomy resolution of the state Assembly.

Padgaonkar later said that interlocutors have not recommended abolition of Article 370. "What we have said is that we are not inventing something. Under article 371 there are several states of the Union which have been designated as special category states.

"We have just said that you remove the word temporary as regards J and K and use the word special as it is being done in the case of several states. We have listed the state which comes under the category of special states. Instead of temporary, we wanted to put the word special in line with what is being done with the other states."

The interlocutors have recommended status quo in the use of nomenclatures in English of Governor and Chief Minister and equivalent nomenclatures in Urdu may be used.

In an earlier era until 1965, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir was addressed as 'Wazir-e-Azam' (Prime Minister) and the Governor as 'Sadar-e-Riyasat' (President).

(Agencies)

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