Srinagar: The Supreme Court on Friday will hear five petitions challenging Article 35A of the Constitution which confers special status to permanent residents of the state. In connection with the matter, Separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, under the banner of Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) have called for a two-day shutdown on Thursday and Friday across the state.

The apex court is hearing a bunch of petitions in the matter, including the one filed by NGO ‘We the Citizens’ seeking quashing of article 35-A, which confers special status to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

The matter is listed for hearing on Friday before a Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration approached the Supreme Court seeking adjournment of the August 31 hearing in view of upcoming local body elections in the state.

In a letter to the Registrar of the Supreme Court and circulated, M Shoeb Alam, the standing counsel for the state in the apex court, sought adjournment of hearing on five petitions scheduled for Friday, by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

The state “will be seeking adjournment in the matters on August 31 on account of the ongoing preparation for the upcoming panchayat and urban local body and municipal elections in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the letter said.

The dates for the local body elections in the state have not been declared yet, but are they likely to be held in September-end.

Restrictions Imposed in Parts of Srinagar

Following the shutdown call by Separatists, restrictions have been imposed in some parts of Srinagar. “Restrictions have been imposed in areas under the jurisdiction of Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, MR Gunj and Safa Kadal police stations,” the police said in a statement.

“Partial restrictions will remain in force in areas under Kralkhud and Maisuma police stations on Thursday and Friday. The restrictions are purely preventive in nature and have been imposed to maintain law and order,” it added.

Train Services Suspended

Meanwhile, train services between Baramulla and Banihal have been suspended for Thursday and Friday. Also, the University of Kashmir has rescheduled all entrance exams for admission to various post-graduate courses which were to be held on Thursday and Friday.

What is Article 35A?

Article 35A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and denies property rights to women who marry those from outside the state. The provision, which leads to such women from the state forfeiting their right over property, also applies to their heirs.

Political parties including the National Conference and the CPI (M), have moved the Supreme Court in support of Article 35-A, that also empowers the state assembly to define “permanent residents” for bestowing special rights and privileges to them.