July 2019 News

Modi To Fulfil Mookerjee's Dream Of Scrapping Article 370, 35A: Gehlot

6 July 2019

Raipur: Union minister Thaawarchand Gehlot expressed confidence on Saturday that Jan Sangh founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee's 'dream' of scrapping Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution would be fulfilled by the Narendra Modi government. The Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment was speaking to reporters here after launching the BJP's membership drive, which coincided with the 118th birth anniversary of Mookerjee, the founder of the Jan Sangh, the BJP's predecessor. Article 370 grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir and limits Parliament's power to make laws concerning the state. Article 35A empowers the state assembly to define 'permanent residents' for bestowing special rights on them. 'Mookerjee fought against (operation of) Articles 370 and 35A in Kashmir and wanted to abolish these articles from the state. We have been making efforts to fulfil his dream since the time of Jan Sangh. But now it seems the time has come,' Gehlot, a senior BJP leader, said. 'Both the issues were part of our election manifesto. We will be successful in fulfilling his dream by abrogating these articles,' he added. Asked if the party aimed to abolish the two articles within a specified period, Gehlot said, 'We will be successful in abolishing these articles in the second term of Modi government. The party manifesto is for five years, but it will be done much earlier.' A batch of petitions have been filed in Supreme Court challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A. The first petition challenging 35A was filed in July 2014 by a rightwing non-government organisation, 'We the Citizens'. It challenged the validity of the Article on the grounds that it had been inserted into the Indian Constitution through a Presidential Order in 1954, rather than by following the procedure prescribed in Article 368 of the Indian Constitution. Subsequent to this petition, three separate petitions were filed to challenge Article 35A. One of these, filed by Dr Charu Wali Khanna, contended that it 'denies property right to a woman and her children marrying a person from outside the state'. The West Pakistan Refugees Association challenged Article 35A on grounds of discrimination in acquisition of property, government service, and voting rights. The Supreme Court has clubbed the three subsequent petitions with the main petition filed by 'We the Citizens'.