Supreme Court Bench set to hear PIL demanding abolition of Article 35A

The Supreme Court will rehear the Public Interest Litigation regarding the 35A clause which empowers the state of Jammu & Kashmir state legislature to define “Permanent Residence” of the state and grants them special rights, on August 16. This has been a topic of debate for quite some time in India with a section stating such provisions alienates the state from the rest of India and others stating it’s in line with the instrument of Accession.

There were four petitions demanding a scrap of 35A in Jammu & Kashmir listed before the bench. The main petition was filed by a Delhi based NGO, ‘We The Citizens’ in 2014. Later three more were filed but they were clubbed together with the main one.

The bench comprises of three judges. The bench is headed by The Chief Justice of India (CJI).

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35A of the constitution deals with the rights enjoyed by a resident of the Jammu & Kashmir state, it empowers the state legislature to decide who can or cannot be a permanent resident of the state. People who are not a Permanent resident of the state are eligible for –

  • No person who is not a Permanent Resident of Jammu and Kashmir can own property in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • No person who is not a Permanent Resident of Jammu and Kashmir can obtain a job within Jammu and Kashmir Government.
  • No person who is not a Permanent Resident of Jammu and Kashmir can join any professional college run by the government of Jammu and Kashmir or get any form of government aid out of government funds.

A controversy was first triggered when Charu Wali Khanna, a lawyer and former member of the National Commission for women field a plea challenging the 35A of the constitution and Section 6 of the Jammu & Kashmir constitution which deals with “permanent residence” of the state.

The issue is a very hot topic of Debate both within the state and outside the state. The main regional parties like People’s Democratic Party, National Conference are of the opinion that any change in the status quo regarding 35A would bring serious repercussions. On the other hand, The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which leads the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in the centre has always opposed any special provisions regarding Jammu & Kashmir.

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