Case listed at 69th place in supplementary list, may not be heard today; Bar to move an application before SC to become a party in the case
Srinagar: Four petitions challenging Article 35A are listed at 69th place in the supplementary category for hearingon Monday before a division bench of three justices, including Chief Justice of India, of the Supreme Court.
A lawyer in the knowledge of the matter said that there were “remote chances that the case will be taken up for hearing”. “The case is in supplementary list and that too at 69th place,” he said.
The J&K government has engaged “top constitutional lawyers” to defend the Article which confers special rights on the government of Jammu and Kashmir and its subjects.
“We are fully prepared to defend Article 35-A,” asserted Naeem Akhtar, the PDP-BJP government’s spokesperson, on Sunday evening.
“The J&K law minister along with (J&K) Advocate General are in Delhi to assist in the case,” Akhtar told Kashmir Reader. “We are hopeful that Article 35A will be upheld like it was in the past.”
The JK government is being represented by constitutional lawyers Fali Nariman, Shekhar Naphade, Rakesh Diwedi, and KV Vishvinatha. The case will be heard by Chief Justice of India Deepak Misra, Justice AM Khanvikan and Justice DY Chandrachud.
The government has engaged Shoeb Alam as “advocate on record” in the SC for its case.
Besides the J&K government, the Government of India is the second respondent in the case.
Congress leader and former Member of Parliament Tariq Hameed Karra is a private party in the case. He has already reached Delhi where he will be represented by his lawyer in the case.
Sources said that only half of the team constituted by the Kashmir High Court Bar Association (KHCBA) has managed to reach Delhi to be “observers in the case”. The Bar team has so far been attending all the hearings in the case since the first petition challenging Article 35A was admitted.
Sources said that the KHCBA will move an application before the SC on Monday to become a party in the case.
“Yes, we will move the application before the SC when the case will be taken up for hearing,” said Advocate Arshid Andrabi, KHCBA member who is in Delhi to attend the hearing. “The application is ready,” he said.
Andrabi said that the Bar has readied its application by delving deep in the history of the Kashmir dispute and has made the United Nations Security Council Resolution on Kashmir as its basis.
The petitions against Article 35A have created a political storm in Kashmir, with all sections of society from the resistance groups to the pro-India political parties warning of a mass agitation if the constitutional guarantee is tinkered with.
KHCBA president Mian Abdul Qayoom is leading the Bar delegation in Delhi, which includes advocates ZA Shah, Riyaz Jan, Adil Asmi and Andrabi.
“The other five members are trying to come soon (to Delhi),” Andrabi said.
At a short notice issued by the Bar president, advocates Mushtaq Ahmad Dar, GN Shaheen, Adil Asmi, Sameer Ahmad Wani, ZA Shah, ZA Qureshi, Manzoor Ahmad Dar, Nazir Ahmad Ronga, Arshad Andrabi, MS Reshi, Altaf Haqani, Reyaz Jan, Mufti Mehraj and Bashir Sidiq were asked to leave for Delhi on Sunday to attend the hearing listed in Court Number 1 of the Supreme Court.
“Despite suffering from high fever, Mian Qayoom sahab made it to Delhi today because of the importance of the case,” a close associate of the Bar president said.
Article 35 A was challenged twice in the Supreme Court in the 1960s, but the law was upheld both times. The Article was added to the Constitution of India by a Presidential Order in 1954.
It accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and empowers the J&K legislature to frame any law without attracting a challenge on grounds of violating the Right to Equality of people from other states of India or any other right under the Indian Constitution.