The BJP said today that Article 35A of the Constitution was biased against women and violated people’s fundamental rights, and slammed those raising a hue and cry over the issue. The party said that the opposition to a plea in the Supreme Court challenging the constitutional provision was aimed at influencing the court proceedings. “Sensing that justice will finally prevail in the Supreme Court of India, these political groups have started raising a hue and cry with illegal designs to influence the proceedings of the court,” the state convenor of the BJP Human Rights Cell, P L Kaul, said here today.
He said it has become a “major politico-legal issue” for the state, where the affected people are keenly observing and hoping to get justice which has been denied to them for the last 70 years. “It (the article) is in indirect conflict with Articles 14 and 16 of the Indian constitution and is discriminatory in nature. Article 14 grants rights to equality and equal protection of law to all citizens of India while Article 16 provides rights of equality of opportunity in the matter of employment, but surprisingly and contrarily Article 35A has been instrumental in making J&K state a Muslim majority state,” he said.
The BJP leader said “the article has proved to be road block on the integration of J&K state into the Union of India”.
He said, “Article 35A was added in haste to strengthen Article 370 through a Presidential order on 14th May, 1954 bypassing Parliament which is a necessary formality. As such the Article 35A remains unconstitutional and illegal and has created a void that is detrimental to the Constitution of the country.” The BJP leader said that this was the most appropriate time for the Supreme Court to deal with this complicated problem and get rid of Article 35A once and for all to ensure a sense of justice in the state, to ensure complete integration of J&K state into the Union of India. “Article 35A reflects gender bias, discriminatory and against the mandate of right to equality,” he said.
“Article 35A violates the rights and create inequality amongst the unfortunate woman of state subjects to marry a man of their choice, because if a citizen woman marries a non- citizen man, their progeny will not get the Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) and will be deemed unfit for inheritance, while the same is not applicable for male members,” he added.
Article 35A rates non-permanent residents of J&K as second rate citizen, since they cannot purchase any immovable property in the state, are not eligible for employment by the state government, cannot contest or vote in local body or assembly elections, cannot avail of scholarships and other grants offered by the state government to its permanent residents, he said. Kaul contradicted the statements of various valley-based leaders that there will be an outside domination over the heritage and identity of the people, once the article is set aside and the business sector will suffer. “It is merely a fear psychosis. It will actually open the flood gates for the industries, thereby providing employment opportunities to the unemployed youth which will bring overall development in all the three regions of the state,” he added.