Jammu: The hearing of the case against Article 35 A in the Supreme Court (SC) was deferred to April on Thursday, official sources revealed to Kashmir Reader.
Sources said that the SC registry had set January 25 as the tentative date of hearing of four petitions against Article 35 A; however, “the date has been deferred as of now”.
“The SC registry has now set the tentative date of hearing as 9 April 2018,” the sources said. “There was no hearing of the case at all on Thursday; just the date for hearing was deferred.
The SC had on 30 October 2017 deferred the hearing on Article 35-A by three months after the Government of India (GoI) sought an adjournment for six months. Thus hearings were put off to the next year.
The GoI had cited the appointment of Special Representative on Jammu and Kashmir Dineshwar Sharma for deferring the case and argued that the court hearings could impact the initiative.
Sharma was appointed by GoI on October 24 last year and has been visiting the state ever since.
Article 35 A was challenged twice in the early 1960s, but the SC upheld the law on both occasions. Added to the Constitution of India by Presidential Order in 1954, the Article 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.
The case was earlier set to be heard after last year’s Diwali but was deferred to October 30 when the GoI sought further deferment of the hearing of the petitions which challenge the special rights this Article confers upon the state government.
The J&K government has engaged Shoeb Alam as “advocate on record” in the SC for its case.
However, the state government has engaged India’s top constitutional lawyers Fali Nariman, Shekhar Naphade, Rakesh Diwedi, and KV Vishvinatha to fight its case. The case is being heard by Chief Justice of India Deepak Misra, Justice AM Khanvikan and Justice DY Chandrachud.
Besides the J&K government, the GoI is the second respondent in the case but has, so far, maintained silence upon it.
Congress leader Tariq Hameed Karra is a private party in the case while the Kashmir High Court Bar Association (KHCBA) is also attending the hearing of the case on a regular basis as “observers”.
KHCBA is intending to move an application before the SC on Monday to become a party in the case.