Jammu: Putting all speculation to rest, the Jammu and Kashmir administration on Sunday said its stance remained unchanged that only an elected government would be able to take a stand on Article 35A before the Supreme Court, which is hearing a bunch of petitions challenging its validity.
Addressing a press conference, senior bureaucrat Rohit Kansal, who has been designated as the chief spokesperson of the governor’s administration, said, “The stand of the state government on the request of deferment of hearing on Article 35A in the Supreme Court remains the same as requested by them on February 11.”
He was replying to a question on whether there was a change in the stand of the governor’s administration on the contentious issue.
The Jammu and Kashmir government’s counsel had sought permission from the Supreme Court for circulating a letter among the contesting parties for adjourning the upcoming hearing on the pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A, which provides special rights and privileges to the natives of the state, saying there was no “elected government” in the state.
A bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna was told by lawyer Shoeb Alam, representing the Jammu and Kashmir government, on February 11 that he was seeking the court’s nod to circulate the letter among the parties for getting the scheduled hearing deferred.
“On the day of listing, the undersigned (Alam) shall be requesting for an adjournment in the matter since presently, there is no elected government in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the state is under President’s Rule.
“The present matter involves a sensitive issue regarding a challenge to Article 35A of the Constitution of India. A short reply has been filed by the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the lead matter ‘We the Citizens’ and notices have not been issued on the other petitions. It will therefore be requesting that the matter may kindly be heard when an elected government is in place,” the state government said in the letter.
Several petitions, including those by political parties like the National Conference and the CPI-M, were also filed in the Supreme Court in support of Article 35A.
The state government, while defending the article, had cited two verdicts of the constitution benches of the Supreme Court in 1961 and 1969, which had upheld the powers of the president under Article 370(1)(d) of the Constitution to pass constitutional orders.