MK Monitoring Desk
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday listed for hearing from February 26 to 28 the petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35-A. It is the first time that hearing will be held on the provision when the state is under the Governor’s rule.
Article 35-A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state. The provision, which leads such women from the state to forfeit their right over property, also applies to their heirs.
Recently, there have been speculation that the Centre is considering changing its stand of aloofness on the contentious issue. The entire Valley has been in a grip of panic since the last two days amidst speculation that the government may change its stand to seek an expeditious hearing.
Recently, the government launched a massive crackdown on separatists and detained over 150 people, mainly from the Jamaat-e-Islami Jammu Kashmir, ahead of the top court’s hearing.
However, the Jammu and Kashmir government, while seeking adjournment of hearing on Article 35-A, said that its stance remained unchanged that only an elected government would be able to take a stand on the contentious issue.
The state administration also urged the people of the state not to pay heed to rumours and get panicky on the basis of unsubstantiated and exaggerated pieces of information which were in circulation.
The bench is hearing several petitions including the one filed by NGO ‘We the Citizens’ through lawyer Barun Kumar Sinha.
Several petitions, including those by political parties like the National Conference and the CPI-M, were also filed in the Supreme Court in support of Article 35A that also empowers the state Assembly to define “permanent residents” for bestowing special rights and privileges to them.
The state government, while defending the article, had cited two verdicts of the constitution benches of the Supreme Court in 1961 and 1969, which had upheld the powers of the president under Article 370(1)(d) of the Constitution to pass constitutional orders.
In August, the apex court adjourned hearing on a batch of petitions challenging Article 35 A till January this year, after taking note of submissions of the Centre and the state government that there was a law and order problem in the state. (Agencies)
MK Monitoring Desk