J&K seeks adjournment of hearing on Art 35-A

The Jammu and Kashmir Government today approached the Supreme Court seeking adjournment of the August 6 hearing on petitions challenging the validity of Article 35-A of the Constitution, citing upcoming local body elections in the State.
In a letter to the Registrar of the Supreme Court, standing counsel for the State in the Apex Court M Shoeb Alam sought adjournment in five petitions that were scheduled to be heard on Monday by a three-Judge Bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
The State”…Will be seeking adjournment in the matters on August 6 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 apex court is hearing a batch of petitions in the matter, including the one filed by NGO ‘We the Citizens’ seeking quashing of the article, which confers special status to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
The matter is listed for hearing on Monday before a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandrachud.
Article 35-A, 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 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.
Meanwhile, the National Conference (NC) today moved the Supreme Court in support of the Constitution’s Article 35-A that empowers the State Assembly to define “permanent residents” for bestowing special rights and privileges to them.
After the CPI(M)’s Jammu and Kashmir unit, the NC moved the present petition seeking to be heard in the present matter, saying that the Article serves as an important link between the State and the Union and its people and serves to maintain a fine balance of constitutional federalism.
The NC’s intervening application, filed through advocate Adeeba Mujhaid, has sought intervention in the “We the Citizens” petition, saying that the challenge raised in the pending writ petition suffers from gross delays and latches and being raised after more than 60 years and cannot be maintainable.
“Any attempt to tinker with the said balance would ruin the fabric of the federal structure envisaged under the Constitution and jeopardise the avowed special status guaranteed to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, thereby landing a devastating fatal blow to the State and its probe,” the petition filed by NC through its Provincial President Nasir Aslam Wani said.
It said that “Article 35-A and the special status and special laws of the J-K are a crucial existential issue for the State and its people.”
“The rights of all permanent residents of the State, irrespective of their religion, creed, region, socio-economic standing etc are firmly and constitutionally rooted in Article 35-A.
“The people of all the three regions of the State — Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir Valley — will be vitally affected by the outcome of the present proceedings,” it said.
On July 31, CPI(M)’s J-K unit had said in its petition that it was of the unequivocal opinion that the Article shall in “no circumstance be annulled, modified or repealed”. (PTI)