The Supreme Court, amidst the speculations in the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) on the Centre changing its stance on Article 35A of the Constitution, is expected to hear a challenge to the provision from 26 to 28 February, reports Times of India.
The provision gives the state government the right to confer special privileges to those whom it defines as “permanent residents” of the states
Article 35A of the Constitution allows the J&K state legislature to define ‘permanent residents’ of the state and confer special privileges to them. The provision has been a bone of contention and repealing it was a part of Bharatiya Janata Party’s
The article prohibits non-permanent residents from settling in the state, acquiring immovable property, government jobs, scholarships and aid. The provision is deemed discriminatory towards Indian citizens and hence, unconstitutional.
A challenge to this article of the constitution in the apex court came from a non-government organisation (NGO), We The Citizens, in 2014. The petition challenged 35A on the grounds that it was not added to the constitution through an amendment under Article 368 but was incorporated through a Presidential order.
Other pleas were also filed challenging 35A in the Supreme Court, following which notices were sent to the centre and the state in July 2017. However, the court kept on deferring the hearing on the petitions following arguments by the government counsel regarding the law and order situation in Kashmir. On 31 August 2018, the apex court deferred the hearing of the matter to the second week of January.
Meanwhile, on Sunday (24 February) J&K Governor Satya Pal Malik issued a statement requesting people to not spread rumours and remain calm following state administration issuing orders including earliest supply of ration, cancelling leaves of doctors and policemen, petrol rationing that led to panic in the valley.