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Instrument of Accession

Topics Covered: Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features, amendments, significant provisions and basic structure.

Instrument of Accession

What to study?

For Prelims: Overview of IoA.

For Mains: Significance of IoA and challenges it posed.

Context: From 2020, people in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a public holiday on October 26 for the first time. The day, which will be observed as Accession Day, marks the signing of the Instrument of Accession by the last Dogra ruler of J&K, Maharaja Hari Singh, with the then Governor-General of India, Lord Mountbatten.

 What happened on October 26?

As per the Indian Independence Act, 1947, British India was divided into India and Pakistan and the roughly 580 princely states that had signed subsidiary alliances with the British had their sovereignty restored to them. In essence, these princely states were given the option to remain independent or to join the Dominion of India or Pakistan.

According to Section 6(a) of the Act, before joining India or Pakistan, these states had to sign an Instrument of Accession, in which they would specify the terms on which they were becoming part of the new dominions.

What is Instrument of Accession of J&K?

It is a legal document executed by Maharaja Hari Singh, the then ruler of the princely state of Jammu & Kashmir, on October 26, 1947.

It declared that the state of Jammu and Kashmir accedes to India.

The IoA gave India’s Parliament the power to legislate in respect of J&K only on the matters of defence, external affairs and communications.

Apart from defence, communications and external affairs, the IoA mentions ancillary subjects that include elections to the dominion legislature and offences against laws with respect to any of the said matters.
Using IoA, Article 370 was incorporated in the Constitution of India.

Sources: Indian Express.