Former Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Tariq Hameed Karra approached the Supreme Court Friday to defend Article 35A as a private party. The apex court Friday also accepted the state government’s plea to hear cases challenging Article 35A after Diwali. Karra said that the court has accepted his application, and that the application was presented by Ashok Mathur, the advocate on record, and contested by former Union minister and senior advocate P Chidambaram and a few other lawyers.
Article 35A allows Jammu and Kashmir to define its “permanent residents”, and gives the residents special rights and privileges. Karra, who was one of the founding members of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and a close associate of former chief minister, late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, left the party after it formed an alliance with BJP in J&K. Karra, who had resigned as a Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar constituency, calls the PDP’s alliance with BJP a “total surrender” by the party before the RSS.
The J&K government Friday also approached the top court with a plea to hear the Article 35A case, in which two petitions have challenged constitutional validity of this provision, after Diwali. The bench headed by Chief Justice J S Khehar accepted the state government’s plea.
Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi and advocate Shoeb Alam mentioned the matter before a bench, also comprising Justices Dipak Misra and D Y Chandrachud. The Supreme Court had earlier said that a three-judge bench will hear the case and indicated that if necessary it can be sent to a five-judge bench.
Karra’s intervention is the first such defence by a private party from J&K in the case. Sources said at least two more interventions by private parties to defend the constitutional provision are being made in the case. In a statement, Karra alleged that the “PDP’s chest-beating” is “just a rhetoric and public posturing, without any sincerity”.
He said, “It (PDP) is suffering with optical illusion of regaining its lost ground, day-dreaming for saving itself from public wrath and is fantasising to become the martyrs. The very fact that the Government of India did not file objections to the petition challenging Article 35A, and the Attorney General’s out-of-turn and politically motivated stand on it in the court, stands testimony to the nefarious designs of the right-wingers.”
Karra also said that the PDP “stands fully exposed as a collaborator and facilitator…as it chose not to convince or force its alliance partner to file objections by Government of India in the court of law”.