August 2018 News

Article 35A: All Eyes On State's Stand After Change Of Governor

24 August 2018
Greater Kashmir
Umer Maqbool

Srinagar: A bunch of petitions challenging the Article 35A are likely to come up for hearing in the Apex Court on August 31 at a time when J&K government's stand over the sensitive and emotive issue after change of Governor will be keenly watched. The petitions seeking annulment of the constitutional provision are tentatively listed for hearing on August 31. On August 6, a two-judge bench of the Court had ordered listing of the matter for the week starting August 27. 'The case did not figure in the causelist (schedule of cases to be heard by the court) of August 27,' an official told Greater Kashmir. According to legal experts, it would be interesting to watch state government's line of action over the matter after change of Governor. Earlier this week, NN Vohra was replaced by Satya Pal Malik as Governor of J&K. Malik is the first politician to be appointed as Governor of J&K since 1965, the year when the post of Sadar-Riyasat was changed into Governor. Playing safe, the previous Governor NN Vohra had sought deferment of the case and was averse to its hearing till an elected government is in place in the state. Before Vohra, the PDP-led government had defended the Article 35A but it had come under sharp criticism for putting up a 'weak' defence. Last year, when the case came up for hearing in the Court, the government of India decided not to support the former PDP-led state government's stand seeking dismissal of the petition. Instead, attorney general KK Venugopal, appearing for New Delhi had told the court that given the 'sensitive' nature of the issue the government wanted a 'larger debate' on the Article 35A.On the other hand, the ruling BJP and RSS have been pushing for abrogation of Article 35A. Since 2014, a number of petitions have been filed in the Apex Court seeking annulment of the Article 35A. Article 35A is the provision in Indian constitution that protects state subject rights and other privileges to permanent residents of the state. This provision was added to the constitution through the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, issued by the country's first president, Rajendra Prasad, on May 14, 1954.