The Supreme Court Friday agreed to hear after Diwali pleas challenging Article 35 A, relating to special rights and privileges of permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
A bench headed by Justice J S Khehar accepted the plea of the state government that the pleas challenging Article 35 A be heard after Diwali.
Senior advocate Rakesh Dwivedi and Advocate Shoeb Alam mentioned the matter before a bench also comprising Justices Dipak Misra and D Y Chandrachud that even the Centre has no objection if the pleas are taken up after Diwali.
“All the pleas will be taken up for hearing after Diwali,” the bench said.
Earlier the apex court had favoured hearing of the matter by a five-judge constitution bench in case the Article is ultra vires of the Constitution or if there is any procedural lapse.
The court had said that a three-judge bench will hear the matter and refer it to a five-judge bench if necessary.
The apex court was hearing a plea filed by Charu Wali Khanna challenging Article 35A of the Constitution and Section 6 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution which deal with the “permanent residents” of the state.
Article 35A, which was added to the Constitution by a Presidential Order in 1954, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of the Jammu and Kashmir.
It also empowers the state’s legislature to frame any law without attracting a challenge on grounds of violating the Right to Equality of people from other states or any other right under the Indian Constitution.
“Section 6 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution restricts the basic right of women to marry a man of their choice by not giving the heirs any right to property if the woman marries a man not holding the Permanent Resident Certificate.
“Her children are denied a permanent resident certificate thereby considering them illegitimate — not given any right to such a woman’s property even if she is a permanent resident of Jammu and Kashmir,” the plea said.
While Jammu and Kashmir’s Non-Permanent Resident Certificate holders can vote in Lok Sabha elections, the same individual is barred to vote in local elections in the state.
It has become a centre stage of controversy after a second plea was filed by Charu Wali Khanna, a lawyer and former member of the National Commission for Women, challenging Article 35A of the Constitution and Section 6 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution.
Pertinently, all the political parties including the separatist leaders in the Valley are up in arms against the abrogation of the article.
Meanwhile, main coalition partners of the Jammu and Kashmir government Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) argues that the article is ‘responsible for keeping the settled issue of Jammu and Kashmir alive, motivated and encourages the separatists and external forces to interfere in the internal matters of India and challenge the integrity of the country’. While as another coalition partner People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is in favour of retaining the status of article 35A.