The government on Wednesday said there was no proposal as of now for abolition of articles 35A and 370 which give special status to Jammu and Kashmir. The reply came in response to the question posed by Akali Dal MP Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa about the status of abolishing Article 35A and Article 370. “No proposal regarding abolition of Article 35A and Article 370 in respect of Jammu and Kashmir is at present under consideration of the government,” Union Minister of State for Home Hansraj Ahir said replying to a written question.
Abrogation of Article 370, that gives autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir, continues to be a part of the core ideology of the ruling BJP, but the party maintains that it does not have enough numbers in Parliament to do away with it. In case of Section 35A, a writ petition was filed in the Supreme Court by an NGO seeking its abrogation.
The PIL said the Jammu and Kashmir government, under the guise of articles 35A and 370, were discriminating against non-residents who are debarred from buying properties, getting a government job or voting in the local elections. Article 35A was added to the Constitution by a presidential order in 1954 and it empowers the state legislature to define the state’s “permanent residents” and their special rights and privileges.
While the Jammu and Kashmir government contested the petition saying the president had the power to incorporate a new provision in the Constitution by way of an order, the Centre had expressed its reservations. It filed a reply and requested the apex court to refer the matter to a larger bench as constitutional issues were involved in the case. The matter is currently sub-judice.