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J&K govt seeks adjournment of Article 35A hearings in Supreme Court citing local body polls

The Supreme Court is hearing a bunch of petitions seeking quashing of Article 35A, which confers special status to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

india Updated: Aug 29, 2018 21:35 IST
Article 35A,Supreme Court,local body elections
Kashmiri protesters throw stones at police and paramilitary forces during a protest at Lal Chowk area in Srinagar following rumours about scrapping of Article 35A.(Waseem Andrabi/ HT Photo)

The Jammu and Kashmir government on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court seeking adjournment of the August 31 hearing on petitions challenging the validity of Article 35A of the Constitution in view of upcoming local body elections in the state.

In a letter to the registrar of the Supreme Court and circulated, M Shoeb Alam, the standing counsel for the state in the apex court, sought adjournment of hearing on five petitions scheduled for Friday, by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

The state “will be seeking adjournment in the matters on August 31 on account of the ongoing preparation for the upcoming panchayat and urban local body and municipal elections in the state of Jammu and Kashmir,” the letter said.

“The letter may kindly be circulated to the hon’ble judges so as to avoid inconvenience to them...” it said.

The apex court is hearing a bunch of petitions in the matter, including the one filed by NGO ‘We the Citizens’ seeking quashing of Article 35A, which confers special status to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

The matter is listed for hearing on Friday before a Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.

Article 35A, 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 women who marry those from outside the state.

The provision, which leads to such women from the state forfeiting their right over property, also applies to their heirs.

Political parties including the National Conference and the CPI (M), have moved 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 dates for the local body elections in the state have not been declared yet, but are they likely to be held in September-end.

First Published: Aug 29, 2018 21:35 IST