Article 35A Hearing Live: Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah tweets, “Protecting article35a is a tacit acceptance that J&K’s future lies within the Constitution of India otherwise how would it matter if it were struck down or diluted? (sic).”
New Delhi, Aug 6: The Supreme Court today will hear a batch of petitions challenging the validity of Article 35A of the Constitution, which grants special rights and privileges to the Jammu and Kashmir’s residents. A non-governmental organisation, We the Citizens, had filed a petition in 2014 to abolish the law on the grounds that it was “unconstitutional“.
The State government had on Friday moved an application before the top court and sought to defer the hearing of the case, citing upcoming panchayat and urban local body elections. The National Conference (NC) and its arch rival PDP on Sunday took out protest rallies in Srinagar. The separatists and mainstream leaders demanded to dismiss the PIL. According to a Hindustan Times report, posters and video clips were issued by separatists and social media organisations explaining Article 35A’s importance and dangers if it is repealed have been making rounds on social media.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had also warned that fiddling with state’s special status will have catastrophic ramifications for the entire country. Protests by the separatists, business and trade bodies and civil society organizations have rocked the Valley over the past few days against petitions demanding that Article 35A be repealed.
Earlier in May, the court had deferred the hearing of the case, saying that the government-appointed interlocutor, Dineshwar Sharma, is making efforts to find a solution; in such a situation, passing an interim order could prove futile.
The Union government decided not to file a counter affidavit in order to leave the Supreme Court free to decide on what is essentially an interpretation of the law and the Constitution.
Article 35A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, also denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state. The provision, which leads such women from the state to forfeit their right over property, also applies to their heirs.
In April, the Supreme Court had said that it is impossible to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution, conferring special status on Jammu and Kashmir, because it has acquired permanent status through years of existence.
(With PTI inputs)