India: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to hear after Diwali, pleas challenging Article 35 A, relating to special rights and privileges of permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
Article 35A of the Indian Constitution is an article that empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents. It is added to the Constitution through a Presidential Order, i.e., The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 – issued by the President of India, “in exercise of the powers conferred by” clause (1) of Article 370 of the Constitution, with the concurrence of the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
A bench headed by Justice J S Khehar accepted the plea of the Jammu and Kashmir state government that the pleas challenging Article 35 A be heard after Diwali.
Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi and Advocate Shoeb Alam mentioned the matter before a bench also comprising Justices Dipak Misra and D Y Chandrachud that even the Centre has no objection if the pleas are taken up after Diwali.
“All the pleas will be taken up for hearing after Diwali,” the bench said.
Earlier the apex court had favoured hearing of the matter by a five-judge constitution bench in case the Article is ultra vires of the Constitution or if there is any procedural lapse.
The court had said that a three-judge bench will hear the matter and refer it to a five-judge bench if necessary.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Charu Wali Khanna challenging Article 35A of the Constitution and Section 6 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution which deal with the “permanent residents” of the state.
Article 35A, which was added to the Constitution by a Presidential Order in 1954, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of the Jammu and Kashmir.
While Jammu and Kashmir’s Non-Permanent Resident Certificate holders can vote in Lok Sabha elections, the same individual is barred to vote in local elections in the state.