Srinagar: The division bench of Supreme Court (SC) of India will resume hearing the case against Article 35-A on Monday, sources revealed to the Kashmir Reader late Saturday evening.
“The case has been listed in supplementary list issued by SC registry and is placed at 69th number,” source said.
Earlier, the case was listed on October 23 – the day SC opened after Diwali holidays – but was removed from the registry without assigning any reason.
Officials in the know of the case said that four petitions have been filed against Article 35-A of Indian constitution which guarantees special rights to the subjects of Jammu and Kashmir.
“This time, state government will have four top constitutional lawyers, including Fali Nariman, Shekhar Naphade, Rakesh Diwedi, and K V Vishvinathan (pleading its case),” he said. “The case is listed before a division bench of Justice Deepak Misra (Chief Justice of India), jJustice A M Khanvikan and Justice D Y Chandrachud.”
The main petitioner in the case is a lesser known right wing NGO, We The Citizens. “Besides, Kalidas, Charovali Khana and West Pakistan Refugee Association 1947 are three other petitioners,” sources said. Government of India, Jammu and Kashmir Government were the primary respondents to the case, while former member of Indian parliament, Tariq Hameed Karra, was included as a respondent party after he filed an application. Kashmir High Court Bar Association is an observer in the case.
Karra has reached Delhi where he will be represented by his counsel in the case. Besides, a team of Bar Association will be flying to Delhi to be “observers in the case”.
“A team of Bar members will attend the hearing of the case as we have been doing since the petition was admitted by the SC,” a Bar member said. However, he said, “The case is mentioned in supplementary list and there are remote chances that the case will be taken up for hearing,” he claimed.
In August, an SC bench headed by Justice J S Khehar had accepted the plea of the Jammu and Kashmir state government that the challenging petition be heard after Diwali.
The PIL against Article 35A, which enjoins special status on J&K state in the union of India, had created a political storm in Jammu and Kashmir. Even the resistance camp joined the opposition parties in J&K Assembly in protesting the possible abrogation of the law.
The Article 35 A had been challenged twice in 1960s, but the law was upheld both times. The law was added to the Constitution of India by a Presidential Order in 1954. It accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of the Jammu and Kashmir and empowers the J&K’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.