New Delhi: A three-judge Constitution Bench of Supreme Court on Friday deferred the hearing on the validity of Art 35A. Now it would proceed on January 19, 2019. While pointing out that the Article has been challenged for the first time in 60 years, the apex court took the decision after both J-K and the Centre pointed out that the state would be holding local body elections shortly. (Also read: All You Need to Know About Art 35A Case)

ASG Tushar Mehta, representing J-K submitted before SC, “All the security agencies are engaged in the preparation of the local body elections in the state.” Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal agreed with Mehta and said,”Let the local body elections finish in a peaceful manner.”

The Supreme Court concurred that they would be needing a lot of security forces during the panchayat polls so any hearing would be done only after the polls are over in December 2018. “The Government of India argued before the SC that the hearing should be postponed till the panchayat elections are over as there may be law and order problem in J-K. The court agreed that it will hear the petitions after the panchayat elections were over,” Advocate DK Dubey told ANI.

 A petition was filed by NGO We the Citizens challenging Art 35A in the apex court in 2014 on the grounds that it was not added to the Constitution through an amendment. It was never even presented before Parliament.  Another petition filed by J-K native Charu Wali Khanna challenged Art 35A for protecting certain provisions of the state Constitution which restrict the basic right to property if a native woman marries a man not holding a permanent resident certificate. “Her children are denied a permanent resident certificate, thereby considering them illegitimate,” the petition said. The Supreme Court later tagged the two together.