Supreme Court hearing on Article 35A today; shutdown in Kashmir throws normal life out of gear (PTI Photo)
The Supreme Court on Monday will hear a bunch of petitions challenging the validity of the Article 35A of the Constitution that grants special privileges to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
A petition filed by a Delhi-based NGO, We the citizens, argued that Article 35A and Article 370 of the Constitution discriminate among the citizens of J&K and rest of India.
The NGO demanded that Article 35A should be held “unconstitutional” as it was a “temporary provision” which came into effect immediately and was not presented before Parliament.
The Rashtriya Sawayamsevak Sangh (RSS)-linked NGO said that it would urge the court that the matter should be heard by a Constitutional bench of the Supreme Court.
“There is no need to defer the hearing again… We are going to tell the Supreme Court through our counsel tomorrow that our petition on Article 35A should be decided by a Constitution bench,” Chetan Sharma, convener of the J&K chapter of the civil society 'We the Citizens', told reporters in New Delhi on Sunday.
Sharma said that Kashmir-centric parties and "some so-called intellectuals in Jammu" were misleading the people on the issue of Article 35A even as the matter was sub-judice in the court.
Shut down in Kashmir ahead of Article 35A hearing
Meanwhile, a shutdown called by separatists in the Valley ahead of Article 35A hearing threw normal life out of gear. In Srinagar, public transport remained off roads and businesses and shops were closed on Monday amid heavy deployment of security forces.
Several organisations, including Traders organisations, carried out a peaceful protest march and held sit-in dharna at the Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) in Srinagar historic Lal Chowk. The protests were largely peaceful except few minor incidents of stone pelting in some areas.
The two-day shutdown call was given by separatist leaders - Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Yasin Malik - on Sunday. they alleged that the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological mentor RSS - a controversial right-wing organisation was trying to change the demography of the Valley.
What is Article 35A?
The Article 35A of the Indian Constitution grants special rights and privileges to the “permanent residents” of Jammu and Kashmir. Article 35A was added to the Constitution of India in accordance with the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The Article was added through a Presidential order issued by the then President of India Rajendra Prasad on May 14, 1954.
Under the Article 35 A, people of Jammu and Kashmir have the first right on the state and people from rest of the country were barred to from acquiring any kind of immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir