Article 35-A: Supreme Court Adjourns Hearing; To Begin From August 27

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today adjourned the hearing on petitions challenging the validity of Article 35A.

According to the top court, hearing will commence from August 27.

The bench also hinted that a ‘larger bench’ is needed to determine the validity of Article 35-A.

Supreme Court decision comes a day after Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a virtual shutdown over a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the Article 35-A.

The petitioner contended that order on Article 35-A bypassed parliamentary route of lawmaking.

What is Article 35-A and its ramifications

● By a presidential order, in 1954, Article 35-A was incorporated in the Indian Constitution. The provision bars people from outside Jammu and Kashmir to acquire any immovable property in the state. It also denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state.

● It also empowers Jammu and Kashmir legislature to define state’s permanent residents’ and their special rights and privilege.

● An order was issued under Article 370 (1)(d) which empowers President to make certain exceptions and modifications to the constitution for the benefit of the state subject.

Why is it a bone of contention

● Jammu and Kashmir constitution says a permanent resident is a person who is a state subject on May 14, 1954 and has “lawfully acquired immovable property in the state”, or those before May 14 1954 was a state subject of class 1 or of class or have migrated after March 1, 1947 to the territory now included in Pakistan, and returns to the state under a permit for resettlement.

● It blocks citizens of India outside Jammu and Kashmir from settling in the state or getting a government job. If it is removed, Jammu and Kashmir would not be able to define who is a permanent citizen.

● Kashmir has witnessed protests over the last few days with mainstream parties like the National Conference (NC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) also holding rallies in support of Article 35-A.

Various state political leaders have warned that fiddling with the state’s special status would have “catastrophic ramifications” for the entire country.

The separatists have also warned the Centre of large scale protests in case Article 35-A is abrogated.

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