Supreme Court defers hearing on Article 35 A to August 16

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New Delhi | Published: May 14, 2018 4:00:11 PM

Article 35A was incorporated through a Presidential order in 1954 by the then President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on the recommendation of the Nehru Cabinet.

The four petitions were listed before the bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud. (PTI Photo)

The Supreme Court on Monday deferred the hearing in the Article 35A matter till August 16. Article 35A empowers J&K state legislature to define “permanent residents’’ of the state by two months, effectively permitting only residents of Jammu and Kashmir to get state government jobs and buy property in the state.

The matter came up before the apex court through four petitions demanding the scrapping of Article 35A in Jammu & Kashmir. The four petitions were listed before the bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.

The Article allows state government to issue certificates to citizens who qualify as permanent residents. Article 35A prohibits non-permanent residents from owning immovable property, settlement, jobs under the state government.

Article 35A was incorporated through a Presidential order in 1954 by the then President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on the recommendation of the Nehru Cabinet.

The law is similar to a state subject law of the Maharaja Hari Singh in 1927 following a campaign by Kashmiri Pandits, who were opposed to the hiring of people for civil services from Punjab.

Why does it matter?

As the Article was incorporated through an executive order, questions have been raised on whether it has bypassed the Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution under Article 368.

The main petition was filed by We the Citizen, a Delhi-based NGO in 2014, which challenges Article 35A along with the Article 370 (Special status to Jammu & Kashmir). Three more petitions were filed, which were clubbed eventually.

The sensitive issue triggered controversy when a petition was filed by Charu Wali Khanna, lawyer and a former member of National Commission for Women, challenging the provision which denies property rights to a woman who marries a person not holding a permanent resident certificate from Jammu & Kashmir. The provision also applies to the children of the woman.

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