SC defers hearing of plea challenging Article 35A

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 31 Oct 2017 08:59:14


NEW Delhi,

Article 35A accords special rights and privileges to citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the State

THE Supreme Court on Monday deferred the hearing on challenge to the Constitution’s Article 35A granting special rights to natives of Jammu and Kashmir as the Central Government told the court that it may have implications for the dialogue being held by its interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma to find solution to the State’s troubled situation.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar and Justice D.Y.Chandrachud adjourned the matter for eight weeks as Attorney General K.K.Venugopal told the court that the Centre’s special representative was holding dialogue with different stakeholders to find some solution and if hearing on the challenge to Article 35A takes place, then it will have some effect.

The Government had urged the court to adjourn the hearing by six months, but the court only deferred it by eight weeks. The top court by its August 25 order had said that it would hear after Diwali holidays the challenge to the Article 35A and the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution’s Section 6 granting special rights and privileges to natives of Jammu and Kashmir but denying to a woman who marries a non-Kashmiri and her children.

Article 35A, which was added to the Constitution by a Presidential Order in 1954, 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.

The Jammu and Kashmir Government, through battery of senior lawyers like Fali S Nariman, Shekhar Naphade, Rakesh Dwivedi, K V Viswanathan and standing counsel Shoeb Alam defended Article 35A. The Advocate General of the State, Jahangir Iqbal Ganai, was also present when the matter was taken up by the court.

The State’s Law Minister Abdul Haq Khan and some other ministers were here for the hearing. The bench was hearing three separate writ petitions challenging Article 35A in addition to the main writ petition filed by a group called ‘We The Citizens’. Several interlocutory petitions have been filed in support of 35A by various individuals and civil society groups seeking continuance of the special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The State Government has cited two verdicts by the constitution bench of the Supreme Court in 1961 and 1969 which upheld the powers of the president under Article 370(1)(d) of the Constitution of India to pass Constitutional orders.

Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution of India in 1954 by an order of President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet. The apex court had on August 14 said a constitution bench may examine whether Article 35A was gender-biased and violative of the basic structure of the Constitution.