Centre gets SC to freeze hearing on Article 35A

Why it is in news?

  • Choosing dialogue over court battle, the Centre convinced the Supreme Court  to defer hearing on petitions challenging the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir
  • Reason being that it has appointed an interlocutor to commence talks with stakeholders in the State.
  • Appearing before a Bench led by Chief Justice , Attorney Generalsaid the court should adjourn the hearing on the petitions against Article 35A of the Constitution for six months
  • The court, however, settled for 12 weeks in its order. 

‘Will affect process’

  • Government  appointed interlocutor has started talks with stakeholders. If the court hears this case, it will affect dialogue process,
  • The government has appointed Dineshwar Sharma, a former IB director, as interlocutor.

Article  35A

  • Article 35A is a provision incorporated in the Indian Constitution giving the Jammu and Kashmir State Legislature a carte blanche to decide who are the ‘permanent residents’ of the State and grant them special right and privileges in State public sector jobs, acquisition of property within the State, scholarships and other public aid and welfare programmes.
  • The provision mandates that no act of the State legislature coming under the ambit of Article 35A can be challenged for violating the Indian Constitution or any other law of the land.

Special consideration

  • Article 35A was incorporated into the Indian Constitution in 1954 by an order of President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet.
  • The Presidential Order was issued under Article 370 (1) (d) of the Indian Constitution. This provision allows the President to make certain “exceptions and modifications” to the Constitution for the benefit of ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • So Article 35A was added to the Constitution as a testimony of the special consideration the Indian government accorded the ‘permanent residents’ of Jammu and Kashmir. Parliament was not consulted when the President incorporated Article 35A into the Indian Constitution through a Presidential Order issued under Article 370.
  • Article 368 (i) of the Constitution mandates that only the Parliament can amend the Constitution by introducing a new Article.
  • The court is hearing a writ petition filed by NGO, We the Citizens, which challenges the validity of both Article 35A and Article 370.

 Source: The Hindu

Posted by Jawwad Kazi on 31st Oct 2017