Guv, not CM has final word on AFSPA: Law Ministry
New Delhi: The debate on who will have the
final word on lifting the controversial AFSPA from some areas
of Jammu and Kashmir intensified with the Union Law Ministry
saying the Governor can overrule the recommendation of the
Reversing its stand, the Law Ministry has informed the
Union Government that Governor N N Vohra enjoys the power to
overrule any decision of the Omar Abdullah government for
revoking the Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA) in the
The Law Ministry's stand is based on the legal opinion
given by Attorney General Ghulam Vahanvati in which he is
understood to have said that Governor can exercise discretion
according to Section 3 of the AFSPA and that he is "entitled"
to keep in mind the will of Parliament.
Official sources said today that the opinion of the Law
Ministry on November 18 came after the Union Home Ministry was
not satisfied with its earlier opinion which is believed to
have stated that the Governor has to act on the advice of the
Council of Ministers.
The Home Ministry is learnt to have asked the Law
Ministry to seek a fresh opinion from the top law officer of
Both the opinions are based on the interpretation of
the provisions of the AFSPA, the sources said.
The partial lifting of AFSPA in J and K is at the centre
of a raging debate with Omar pressing for it while the Army
has voiced serious reservations.
Omar has argued that his ministers were "authorised to
make a recommendation to the Governor who then acts on the
basis of that recommendation".
According to Omar, he had the authority to withdraw the
law from the state.
Giving another dimenstion on who can take the final
call, Defence minister A K Antony recently said a decision on
revoking AFSPA can be taken only by the Unified Command
Headquarters in J and K. Omar chairs the Unified Command.
"The CCS last year decided to leave it to the Unified
Command to take a decision on partial withdrawal of AFSPA in
Jammu and Kashmir," Antony had said.