Jammu-Kashmir: SC to hear petitions challenging validity of Article 35A

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New Delhi,  Supreme Court is all set to hear the petitions challenging the validity of Article 35A. This is being done amid a very tensed situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The Apex Court is all set to hear a batch of petitions on Monday which challenges the validity of Article 35-A of the Constitution. This grants special privileges to the residents of the state.
Earlier in May, the Supreme court had deferred the hearing of the case. It said that the government-appointed interlocutor, Dineshwar Sharma, is making efforts to find a solution and in such a situation, passing an interim order could prove futile.

The state government had on Friday moved an application before the top court and sought to defer the hearing of the case, citing upcoming panchayat and urban local body elections.
Article 35-A was incorporated into the Constitution by a presidential order in 1954, stating, all those living in Jammu and Kashmir at that time and also those who lived in the state for 10 years anytime since, would be considered as its permanent residents.

The Union government decided not to file a counter affidavit in order to leave the Supreme Court free to decide on what is essentially an interpretation of the law and the Constitution.

These residents have been issued a certificate, which entitles them to special benefits in employment, with the biggest advantage being — only permanent residents have the right to own and buy property in the state.

A non-governmental organisation, We the Citizens, filed a petitioned in the apex Court in 2014 to abolish the law on the grounds that it was “unconstitutional”.

Kashmiris are apprehensive that if the law is diluted then outsiders would settle in Jammu and Kashmir.

The government and the top court, on the other hand, are treading rather cautiously in dealing with the sensitive issue.

The matter of 35-A has united Kashmiri separatists and mainstream politicians.

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