Could have been removed during Swachh Bharat campaign cleaning: Officials
New Delhi: A 63-year-old file containing legal opinion on Article 35A has vanished from North Block’s high-security vaults just when the Article faces a legal challenge in the Supreme Court, The Telegraph newspaper reported on Sunday.
Sources told The Telegraph that the 1954 file contained the then attorney-general’s opinion justifying the insertion of Article 35A into the Constitution that year through a presidential order, rather than through a constitutional amendment.
The Supreme Court is now hearing a petition by an RSS-backed NGO that has sought the scrapping of the Article, which bars outsiders from acquiring land or jobs in Jammu and Kashmir, on the grounds that it was introduced without Parliament’s approval.
“Our employees are frantically searching for the file, which is crucial to the case as we have to convey our stand in the Supreme Court at the next hearing on August 29,” a senior Union home ministry official told The Telegraph.
He said the file had disappeared from the ministry’s legal and administrative records section, perhaps during the ministry’s Swachh Bharat campaign between June 22 and 26 in 2015 when it weeded out hundreds of old files.
“All section officers had undertaken the drive, which was meant to get rid of the old and less-important documents,” the official said.
Sources told The Telegraph that the Centre had already sought intelligence inputs on the possible fallout in Kashmir if the apex court revoked or amended the Article.