SC defers hearing on petitions challenging Article 35A

NEW DELHI, MAY 14: The Supreme Court on Monday deferred hearing on petitions challenging Article 35A of the Indian constitution which permits only subjects of Jammu and Kashmir to get employed in state government and allows them to buy property in J&K.
Centre told the bench that the matter is very sensitive and since the interlocutor is making efforts for a solution, the court should not pass any interim order at present as it would be counterproductive.
Representing the J&K government, advocate Rakesh Dwivedi said SC has already settled the issue by ruling that Article 370 of the Constitution has already attained permanent status.
“In any event as the issue required interpretation of various constitutional provisions, let there be no interim order,” Dwivedi appealed to the bench.
Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, counsel to a petitioner, countered and said: “It is a strange situation in J&K as persons from Pakistan can come and settle in the state under a law but those who have been staying for generations cannot even get a government job.”
SC asked parties to complete pleadings in the case and posted it for hearing on August 6.
Four petitions demanding scrapping of Article 35A in Jammu and Kashmir were listed before a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.
The main petition was filed by ‘We the Citizens’, a Delhi-based NGO in 2014. Three more petitions were also filed challenging the Article but were later clubbed with the main one.
Article 35A of the constitution empowers J&K legislature to define the state’s “permanent residents” and their special rights and privileges. It was added to the constitution through a presidential order of 1954 with the then J&K government’s concurrence.
The issue has come to the fore after the SC’s indicated that it may be dealt with by a five-judge constitution bench, to ascertain if Article 35A relating to special rights and privileges of the citizens of the Jammu and Kashmir is ultra vires of the Constitution or if there is any procedural lapse.
The case took a controversial turn when a plea was filed by Charu Wali Khanna, a lawyer and former member of the National Commission for Women, challenging Article 35A of the Constitution and Section 6 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution which deal with the “permanent residents” of the state. (Agencies)