The Centre is unlikely to take any stand or file an affidavit over the Constitution’s Article 35 A that grants Jammu and Kashmir legislature powers to define the state’s permanent residents. It has only conveyed the “factual” position while leaving the interpretation of the law to a three-judge Supreme Court court bench hearing a petition against the provision.
Sources said the Union home ministry has conveyed the position to the attorney general (AG). “It is the AG’s job to defend the constitution,” said an official. The government’s position on Article 35 A has been conveyed in the past that it cannot be tinkered with, the official added.
Separately, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday and raised the issue but got no assurances. Mufti and other mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have opposed any move to abrogate Article 35 A. She had last month warned that there will be “no one to shoulder the Indian flag’’ in the state if its special status is tampered with.
Mufti, who is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi followed by a courtesy call on President Ram Nath Kovind on Friday, had said that Jammu and Kashmir “would not exist” without the special status. She met National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah and other Opposition leaders over the issue this week. Abdullah had earlier chaired a meeting of opposition parties over the issue on Monday.