The Supreme Court on Monday deferred the hearing in the politically contentious Article 35A case by three months, news agency ANI reported. The apex court was set to take up a clutch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Article 35A, a provision incorporated in the Constitution that empowers the Jammu and Kashmir Legislature to define permanent residents of the state.
Four petitions demanding striking down of the provision have been listed before a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y Chandracud. Delhi-based NGO We the Citizens had filed the main petition in 2014, before three more petitions challenged the Article. Later, they were clubbed with the main one.
READ: What is Article 35A?
As per the J&K Constitution, a Permanent Resident was a state subject on May 14, 1954, or who has been a resident of the state for 10 years, and has “lawfully acquired immovable property in the state”.
The Jammu and Kashmir government had filed a counter-affidavit and sought the dismissal of the petition following the writ petition by the We the Citizens NGO. However, the Central government did not do so despite request from the state government, especially its state partner PDP.
The Union government’s decision to not back the J&K government’s stance has been seen by some as an attempt by it to weaken J&K’s special status. The RSS and BJP are opposed to Article 35A as the provision prohibits non-state subjects from settling and buy property in J&K.