Supreme Court to hear pleas challenging Article 35A on August 16

J&K special status: Defer pleas challenging Article 35A, Centre to Supreme Court

Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar said Article 35A of the Indian Constitution and Section 6 of the J&K Constitution read together provided that while a state subject, if she returned from Pakistan having migrated before 1954, would be entitled to employment and could own property in the state, Indians from others states would not be entitled to the benefits even if they were born and had lived in the state for decades.

"A solution is being devised", Venugopal told the bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A.M. Khanwilkar and D.Y. Chandrachud on Monday.

Petitions against Article 35A have been dismissed thrice by the Supreme Court: in 1956, 1961 and 1970. The interlocutor is in the process of discussing it...

Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, also representing the state, said that since 1927, the position in this regard was clear and it can not be decided like this.

The petitions challenging the validity of the Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution, which gives special rights to permanent residents of JK, will be heard on August 16, the Supreme Court of India has said.

Senior advocate Ranjit Kumar, appearing for one of the petitioners, said it was odd that in J and K, a person who had migrated to Pakistan before 1947, could come and settle down under law but those who were residing there for generations cannot get a government job.

Under Article 35A, only permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir can buy immovable property (such as land) there and secure state government, PSU or local body jobs, and government scholarships, student aid or seats in state-funded technical institutions.

"It is also a sensitive issue, but it is also the matter of life of people who have been forced to leave", the counsel said.

However, Dwivedi told the court that since the issue required interpretation of the constitutional provision, no interim order should be passed in the matter.

Parliament was not consulted when the President incorporated Article 35A into the Indian Constitution through a Presidential Order issued under Article 370.

The Article was incorporated in the Constitution in 1954 by an order of President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet.

One of the petitioners, Charu Wali Khanna, has argued that Article 35A discriminates against Kashmiri women and thus violates Article 14, which prohibits discrimination on the grounds of gender, religion, race, caste or place of birth.

Article 35A empowers the J&K legislature to define permanent residents of the state.

It challenges that Article 35A is against the "very spirit of oneness of India" as it creates a "class within a class of Indian citizens". "The issue under challenge is already covered by judgments of the SC".

He said that the matter relates to the provision of law with reference to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

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