PDP’s Muzaffar Baig flies to Delhi to defend Article 35-A

Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former advocate general of Jammu and Kashmir, Muzaffar Hussain Baig has flown to New Delhi to appear in the case challenging Article 35-A which is to be heard by the Supreme Court on August 31st.

A party spokesperson said Baig, who is also Member of Parliament, is considered as an authority on constitutional relationship of the State with Union of India. Baig will lead a team of lawyers on behalf of Peoples Democratic Party, that had filed an intervention plea through President Mehbooba Mufti last week.

The spokesperson said earlier when in power in the state, PDP had engaged renowned jurist and famous constitutional expert Fali S. Nariman to represent the State in defence of Art 35-A and other constitutional provisions ensuring special constitutional position of the State.

He said the party does not want to spare any efforts to put up the ultimate legal battle. “While Murtaza Khan, another prominent lawyer belonging to the PDP is already in the capital to pursue the matter and assist  Baig, Mehbooba Mufti has asked former Law Minister Abdul Haque Khan, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura and Ch. Zulfikar Ali to rush to Delhi in connection with the case,” he added.

Earlier, the Supreme Court of India had adjourned the hearing of the petitions till last week of August.

These petitions challenge the validity of the Article 35-A that empowers the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights to them. Article 35A bars outsiders from buying immovable property in the state.

A non-governmental organisation, We the Citizens, filed a petitioned in the apex Court in 2014 to abolish the law on the grounds that it was “unconstitutional”.

To protest the tinkering with the law, the Joint Resistance Leadership has called for a state wide shutdown on 25, 26 August and has got the support of the civil society as well as the business community of the valley. There are apprehensions, amongst sections of Kashmiris, that if the law is repealed or diluted, outsiders would be settled in Jammu and Kashmir.

On Saturday, the Supreme Court of India also deferred the hearing of a plea against the Article 370  citing that there are more important issues lined up in the Court.


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