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Larger bench to hear pleas on Article 35A?

Article 35A accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of J-K and empowers state legislature to frame laws without attracting a challenge on the grounds of violating Right to Equality of people from other states under Indian Constitution.

india Updated: Aug 15, 2017 00:01 IST
Bhadra Sinha
Bhadra Sinha
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Supreme Court,Article 35A,Jammu and Kashmir
Supreme Court of India.(HT File Photo)

Indicating it might refer petitions challenging the validity of the controversial Article 35A to a larger bench, the Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a fresh matter where a woman has assailed the provision on the grounds that it is gender discriminatory.

Article 35A accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of J-K and empowers state legislature to frame laws without attracting a challenge on the grounds of violating Right to Equality of people from other states under Indian Constitution.

“If we feel that the challenge to the validity is to be entertained, then it has to go to a five-judge bench,” a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra told the counsel representing the petitioner – Charu Wali Khanna – in the new case. The court noted another bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar had last month referred the petitions to a three-judge bench, which is likely to assemble on August 29 to hear them.

Khanna has also questioned Section 6 of the J&K constitution that deals with the “permanent residents” of the state. Certain provisions deny property rights to a woman who marries a person not a “citizen” of Kashmir.

According to the law, women lose rights over property and this also applies to her children. The woman also loses employment opportunities in the state. Khanna – a Kashmiri – contended that the provisions restrict the right of women to marry a man of their choice. She is married to a non-Kashmiri.

“Her children are denied a permanent resident certificate thereby considering them illegitimate — not given any right to such a woman’s property ...” the plea said.

First Published: Aug 15, 2017 00:01 IST