New Delhi, August 6: The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing of petitions challenging the validity of Article 35A, which allows special rights to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir, amid a statewide shutdown declared by Kashmiri separatists and a number of organisations.
The top court said it will hear the petitions from August 27 after the state government sought an adjournment on the grounds of the upcoming elections to local bodies.
Four petitions, three clubbed with the main plea filed by non-government organisation We The Citizens, have challenged the legality of the law on the grounds that it was implemented on the President’s orders in 1954 without being presented before Parliament.
The provision appears as an “appendix” in the Constitution and not an amendment under the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order-1954.
Article 35A disallows outsiders from settling permanently, buying immovable property or availing of state-sponsored scholarships in the restive state.
Separatists believe that removal or dilution of the law will enable “the country’s right-wing groups to change the demographic character as well as the disputed nature” of the state. They along with trade, tourism and civil society groups have threatened to launch mass agitations if the article is revoked by the top court.
The Jammu and Kashmir Bar Association has filed an intervention application in the Supreme Court to defend the constitutional provision that allows the state legislature to define ‘permanent residents’ and confers special rights on them.
Source Hindustan Times