The hearing on the petitions challenging the Constitution’s Article 35-A in the Supreme Court should be deferred till an elected government is in place in Jammu & Kashmir, political parties in the Valley demanded on Thursday.
“Today, we have Centre’s rule in the state. Whether you call it governor’s rule or something else, it is central rule,” former chief minister Omar Abdullah said while addressing a press conference after a meeting of different political parties in the Valley.
Omar was addressing the media after an all-party meeting convened by his father and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah to deliberate on the “political and security” situation of Jammu and Kashmir. While PDP skipped the all-party meet, the representatives of National Conference, Pradesh Congress, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Democratic Party Nationalist attended it. Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Ali Mohammad Sagar represented National Conference while senior leader Taj Mohidin represented the Congress at the meet. Communist leader M Y Tarigami and DPN Chief Ghulam Hassa Mir also attended the meet.
On August 31, the Supreme Court deferred hearing the petitions against Article 35-A to January after the Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government argued that it could lead to a law and order situation in the state, ahead of the coming panchayat and local body elections.
The Jammu and Kashmir parties also demanded the immediate removal of Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Tushar Mehta as the state’s counsel in the apex court to defend the special constitutional position of the state.
“The political parties had demanded from the Centre to clear its position on Article 35-A. Unfortunately, they have not done it yet. So it (the case pertaining to 35-A) should be deferred till there are elections in the state. When the new government is in place, they would defend 35-A in the Supreme Court in a better way”.
“The government has also accepted that he (Mehta) has exceeded the state’s brief. Putting aside the brief, he put his own words there. That was absolutely wrong,” Omar said. “He was not sent there to put forward his own stand or of any political party. He was not a representative of the Centre. He was a representative of the state and he had to talk in accordance with the brief from the state,” the former CM said.