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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

‘In-chamber’ decision soon, says apex court to plea for early hearing on Article 35A

The petition filed by an NGO claims that Article 35A is illegal and that it was added to the Constitution without being brought before the Parliament.

india Updated: Jan 22, 2019 22:58 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
The Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Tuesday said he will take a call later on whether to admit a petition requesting an early hearing on the constitutional validity of Article 35A.
The Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi on Tuesday said he will take a call later on whether to admit a petition requesting an early hearing on the constitutional validity of Article 35A.(PTI)
         

The Supreme Court said on Tuesday that it would take an “in-chamber” decision to list a petition challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A that extends special rights and privileges to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi told advocate Bimal Roy who sought an early hearing in the matter, that the files of the case were in his chamber and a date would be given soon.

Article 35A gives special rights to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir and disallows people from outside the state from buying or owning immovable property there, or settling permanently or availing themselves of any state-sponsored scholarship schemes.

Roy, appearing for petitioner Charu Wali Khanna, argued the petitions pending in the court relates to “vires” [power] of Article 35A and according to an earlier direction, they were to be listed in second week of January, 2019. The provision, he said, affects the rights of non-state subjects and their children.

However, the advance cause list of the Supreme Court has indicated the hearing date of a related matter. A petition filed by advocate A K Upadhyaya, who has also challenged the validity of Article 35A, is likely to be taken up on February 8.

The apex had in August last year adjourned a batch of petitions on Article 35A until January this year after taking note of submissions of the Centre and state that there was a law and order problem in the Valley due to the panchayat elections.

Khanna’s plea is one of the petitions questioning Article 35A. According to the petitioner, the provision was added to the Constitution without being presented before Parliament. Khanna has claimed that the said Article is also discriminatory against women.

Article 35A became a part of the Indian Constitution in 1954 as part of the deal between then Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, and the Republic of India. The article aimed to protect the privileges of Kashmiri residents.

Khanna claims under its provisions, if a Kashmiri woman marries a non-Kashmiri resident, she and her offspring lose the rights to own immovable property in the state.

Article 35A gives special rights to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir and disallows people from outside the state from buying or owning immovable property there, or settle permanently or avail themselves of any state-sponsored scholarship schemes.

First Published: Jan 22, 2019 12:08 IST