What is Article 35A?

Supreme Court will take up a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: October 30, 2017 10:40 am
Mehbooba Mufti, Jammu and Kashmir, kashmir militancy, mehbooba on militancy, indian express, kashmir news, india news Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti (Express photo by Renuka Puri)

What is Article 35A?

It is a constitutional provision that allows the Jammu-Kashmir assembly to define permanent residents of the state. According to the Jammu-Kashmir constitution, a Permanent Resident is defined as a person who was a state subject on May 14, 1954, or who has been residing in the state for a period of 10 years, and has “lawfully acquired immovable property in the state”.

When was Article 35A introduced?

It was brought in by a presidential order in 1954 in order to safeguard the rights and guarantee the unique identity of the people of Jammu-Kashmir. Only the Jammu-Kashmir assembly can change the definition of PR through a law ratified by a two-thirds majority.

What is the challenge before the Supreme Court?

A batch of petitions challenged the constitutional validity of the Article 35A. A Supreme Court bench headed by the then Chief Justice J S Khehar referred the matter to a three-judge bench which will take up the petitions today.

Delhi-based NGO We the Citizens, in its petition, argued that Article 35A goes against the “very spirit of oneness of India” as it creates a “class within a class of Indian citizens”.

Another petition, filed by lawyer Charu Wali Khanna, claims Article 35A discriminates against a woman’s right to property.

View and counter-view

The view from the Right is that by striking down Article 35A, it would allow people from outside Jammu-Kashmir to settle in the state and acquire land and property, and the right to vote, thus altering the demography of the Muslim-majority state.

The state’s two main political parties, PDP and NC, contend that there would be no J&K left if this provision is tampered with, and have vowed to fight the battle together.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has warned that if Article 35A is removed, there won’t be anyone left to carry the Tricolour in Kashmir; Omar Abdullah has called it the death knell for pro-India politics in the Valley.

The Centre has, however, refused to take a stand on the issue, with Attorney General K K Venugopal informing the court that it was  “very sensitive” and required a “larger debate”.

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  1. Gulabchand Shah
    Oct 30, 2017 at 11:37 pm
    Kashmir can not be part of India if the state persists with article 35A
    1. M
      Oct 30, 2017 at 10:49 pm
      1. M
        Oct 30, 2017 at 6:35 pm
        Those jumping up and down about this act should educate themselves a bit about the laws of our country. Similar laws as for Kashmir apply to Nagaland (Article 371) and Sikkim too. People of Sikkim are not governed by Indian Income Tax Act. They don't pay any tax to Govt of India. They rather pay to their state. They don't have PAN cards. Ever since Sikkim was 'annexed' in 1975 they are resisting full incorporation into India for tax purposes. Sikkim Govt Jobs are for Sikkimese only. Non-Sikkimese cannot buy property there. Similar rules exists in Nagaland too. Both the states have permanent residency/domicile restrictions. The point is that the union of some states with the Union of India had some underlying agreements. Getting agitated, while being ignorant of those laws is not good for our own health.
        1. R
          Rakesh Pandit
          Oct 30, 2017 at 6:10 pm
          If those in kashmir dont allow us to make residence there, all kashmiris in other parts of India have to be kicked back there. We can begin by throwing out kashmiri students from Rajasthan, UP, MP Gujarat, Bihar, Karnataka, TN, etc etc back to kashmir. Majority Indians dont like or trust any muslim, anyway.
          1. C
            Oct 30, 2017 at 5:39 pm
            There has not been a debate on the issue of A35 and hence it would place the apex court in a position of doubt. I would not be surprised if the status quo is given a temporary reprieve till such time the Kashmir issue comes to a settlement. The pe ion filed with the SC is a bit premature only because it has made the Hurriyat and the indigenous parties like the NC and PDP more determined not to concede to the Center thus making a political settlement much harder. A35 and A370 make Kashmiris unique having given the status of a 'special people'. This was due to the fallacy of the Congress and the hasty decision of the SC then. But then, this is the consequence the nation has to bear for treating a certain section of Indians like foreigners. So, foreigners., they become. It will be interesting to see what decision the SC makes. I would have thought that in a matter of such importance, the CJI should have invested on a full bench.
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