RIGHT TO REFERENDUM (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 - Polity)

News-CRUX-10     9th August 2023        

Context: There is no question of a Brexit-like referendum on the scrapping of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, the Supreme Court said, as it grappled with the question whether it was constitutionally legal. 

  • The remark by the five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice came in response to senior advocate's argument that the scrapping of Article 370 - which accorded special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir - was a political act like Brexit, where the opinion of British citizens was sought through a referendum.

Right to referendum

  • It is a form of direct democracy in which citizens are allowed to vote on a specific issue or question, typically proposed by a government or other official body.
  • In 1905, Norway became the first country to hold a national referendum on a constitutional issue, and other countries soon followed suit.
  • There is no provision for a referendum in the Indian Constitution. 
  • As a result, the referendum is neither unlawful nor forbidden in India.
  • Referendums have been used in India in the past.
  • Sikkim conducted a referendum to remove the monarchy on April 14, 1975. With 97.55 percent of the vote, the state was declared an Indian state.
  • The Goa Opinion Poll, held on January 16, 1967, in the Indian state of Goa, determined the future of the Union Territory of Goa, Daman, and Diu within the Indian Union.