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Art 35-A : All eyes on SC hearing today

Srinagar, Aug 05: Amidst complete shutdown and protests, the people of J&K would be all eyes and ears on Monday about the petition filed by an RSS-backed NGO demanding scrapping of Article 35-A, the Constitutional provision which gives special rights and privileges to natives of the state.

The Article, which was added to the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir and bars outsiders from acquiring any immovable property in the state.

The main petition demanding scrapping of it was filed before the apex court in 2014 by right-wing NGO ‘We the Citizens’.

The state government has already filed an application to the Supreme Court’s registrar, informing him that it is going to seek adjournment of the hearing of the petition in view of the “ongoing preparations for the upcoming Panchayat and urban local body elections in the state”.

Article 35A was incorporated by an order of President Rajendra Prasad in 1954 on the advice of the Nehru Cabinet.

The Parliament was not consulted when the President incorporated Article 35A into the Constitution through a Presidential Order issued under Article 370. Article 368 (i) of the Constitution mandates that only the Parliament can amend the Constitution.

Article 35A gives the Jammu and Kashmir State Legislature a carte blanche to decide the ‘permanent residents’ of the State and grant them special rights and privileges in State public sector jobs, acquisition of property within the State, scholarships and other public aid and welfare programmes. The provision mandates that no act of the State legislature coming under the ambit of Article 35A can be challenged for violating the Indian Constitution or any other law of the land.

People display placards and wave black flags during a protest against the petitions in the Supreme court challenging the validity of Article 35 A, in Srinagar on Friday. Article 35 A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 presidential order, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of J&K.

Jammu and Kashmir: BJP says ready to debate on scrapping of Article 35A

Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, for the Centre, has already cautioned the three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India that the issue was a “sensitive” one.

This three-judge Bench would decide whether or not to refer the issue to the Constitution Bench after hearing the final arguments on Monday.