SRINAGAR: More than 300 lawyers of Jammu unanimously passed a resolution for strengthening and retention of Article 35-A of the Constitution of India.
A meeting was held under the chairmanship of senior advocate A V Gupta (Former President Bar Association Jammu) at Justice Vinod Gupta Bar Hall, High Court, Jammu. The other prominent lawyers who expressed their views in favour of retention of Article 35-A were Mohd Aslam Goni (Senior Advocate and Former Advocate General), S C Gupta (Former Sr AAG), K K Pangotra (Former Assistant Solicitor General of India), Abdul Hamid Qazi (Former AAG), Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed, Pawan Kundal, Murtaza Khan (Ex-MLC), M.R. Qureshi (Ex-MLC), Ehsan Mirza (Former AAG), Shah Mohammad Choudhary, and A H Bhat (Former Govt. Advocate).
In his presidential remarks, Sr Adv A V Gupta submitted that Late Maharaja Hari Singh had executed Instrument of Accession with certain conditions which later came out in the shape of Article 35-A read with Article 370 of the Constitution of India. He said if Article 35-A or Article 370 is deleted then accession of State of J&K with dominion of India gets shaky.
“Article 35-A is beneficial for the permanent residents of J&K State and one of the examples he quoted is free education from Class 1st upto University level,” he said.
Former Advocate General and senior advocate M A Goni lambasted the critics of Article 35-A and strongly expressed the need of creating mass awareness amongst the people of J&K State regarding the retention of Article 35-A. He quoted several judgments of the Apex court and State High Court and was of the view that petitions challenging Article 35-A are not maintainable and further said that there is a dire need for protecting the unique identity of J&K State.
Former Sr AAG S C Gupta submitted that those who are for scrapping of Article 35-A should first surrender their permanent resident certificates and then work in the State. “Jammu people must support their Kashmiri brethren on the issue of retention of Article 35-A as the State of J&K has its own identity and special status guaranteed under Article 370,” he said.
Former ASGI K K Pangotra strongly advocated the retention of Article 35-A and said that it is only Jammu people who will be adversely affected with the influx of huge population from other states of India as no one will settle in Kashmir Valley and only the resources of Jammu shall be exploited at the cost of Jammu people.
Advocate Supriya Chouhan while taking a dig on the critics of Article 35-A that the people who want scrapping of this Article should be ready to surrender the amenities and concessions being permanent residents of the State before demanding scrapping of this Article. Similar views were expressed by Advocates Rupika and Monika Bhagat. Advocate Zahida Parveen also spoke on the occasion and strongly advocated the retention of Article 35-A.