NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday deferred hearing on Article 35A of the Indian Constitution, which grants certain special rights and privileges to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir, by eight weeks.
The petitions were filed by NGO on grounds that politically contentious Article 35A was illegally added to the Constitution of India as the Article was never proposed before the Parliament.
What is Article 35A?
Article 35A of the Indian Constitution grants certain special rights and privileges to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir. Article 35A, added to the Constitution by a presidential order in 1954, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and empower the state's legislature to frame any law without attracting a challenge on the grounds of violating the right to equality of people from other states or any other right under the Indian Constitution.
The provision prohibits all Indians - except people from Jammu and Kashmir - from purchasing immovable property in the state, getting government jobs and availing state-sponsored scholarship schemes.
Why has the article been challenged?
The article has been challenged by a Delhi-based NGO, 'We the Citizens', in the apex court where the central government had said last month there was need for a "larger debate" on the issue of declaring the article unconstitutional.
The NGO contended that the President could not have amended the Constitution by the 1954 order and it was supposed to be a temporary provision.
The issue has triggered controversy after a plea was filed by Charu Wali Khanna, a lawyer and former member of the National Commission for Women, challenging Article 35A of the Constitution and Section 6 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution which deal with the "permanent residents" of the state.
The plea has challenged certain provisions of the Constitution which deny property right to a woman who marries a person from outside the state. The provision, which makes such women from the state to lose rights over property, also applies to her son.
The main petition was filed by ‘We the Citizens’, a Delhi-based NGO in 2014. Three more petitions were also filed challenging the Article but were later clubbed with the main one.
The issue has come to the centre stage of controversy after the Supreme Court's indication that it may be dealt with by a five-judge constitution bench, to ascertain that, if Article 35A relating to special rights and privileges of the citizens of the Jammu and Kashmir is ultra vires of the Constitution or if there is any procedural lapse.
(With inputs from ANI)