Article 35A row
Courts defers hearing, shutdown cripples Kashmir
Published : Friday, 31 August, 2018 at 9:54 PM Count : 767
Indian court deferred a hearing against the Constitution’s Article 35A 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.
On Friday, the court deferred the hearing of the case to the second week of January after the Jammu and Kashmir government said it plans to hold Panchayat elections in the state between September and December and a debate on the Article 35A could trigger law and order problems. Already, there have been several protests in the state against the Supreme Court's move to hear the challenges to the law.
On Thursday, the Kashmir Valley and parts of Jammu region observed a complete shutdown to protest against any “tampering” with the special constitutional rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The Joint Resistance Leadership, including Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik, gave the call for the shutdown that will be observed today as well, Indian Express reports.
The separatists have called for a complete shutdown during the day.
Earlier in the first week of August, the apex court had deferred the hearing in the matter to the last week of August after both the Centre and Centre-ruled J&K administration sought an adjournment of proceedings, citing ongoing preparations for local body polls.
A bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar adjourned the hearing, saying a three-judge bench needs to decide whether it should be referred to a Constitution Bench. “Let the matter be listed before a three-judge bench in the week commencing August 27 to determine whether it should be heard by a Constitution Bench or not,” the judges said.
The provisions of Article 35-A bars Indian citizens, other than those who are permanent residents of J&K, from seeking employment, settling in the state, acquiring immovable properties or undertaking any trade or business if the state makes any law to that effect and it cannot be challenged before any court.
Following the adjournment of the hearing the matter, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said, “Even though the deferment of hearing on Article 35 A is not a solution, it has brought interim relief to the people of JK. But with uncertainty looming over its status, it has unleashed a wave of anxiety and panic amongst the people of J & K.”