NGO Wants Constitution Bench To Hear Plea For Scrapping Art 35-A

JAMMU — An RSS-linked NGO, which has moved the Supreme Court for scrapping Article 35A that gives special rights and privileges to the Jammu and Kashmir natives, Sunday said it would seek hearing of its plea by a Constitution bench.

“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 here.

The Article 35A, which was added to the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir and bars outsiders from purchasing property in the State.

The main petition demanding scrapping of the Article 35A was filed before the apex court in 2014 by Delhi-based NGO ‘We the Citizens’.

The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the plea against the validity of the Article 35-A tomorrow.

The state government has filed an application to the Supreme Court’s registrar, informing him that it is going to seek adjournment of the hearing of the petition in view of the “ongoing preparations for the upcoming Panchayat and urban local body elections in the state”.

“We are ready for an argument. Those who want an argument over it should come forward. How long will it be deferred? Delaying the judgement is not the solution,” Sharma said.

Without naming anyone, he said the NGO was also approached by “certain persons” to seek deferment of the case.

“We want an argument over the issue. We have filed the main petition seeking revocation of the article 35A and eight petitions were filed jointly against our petition in the Apex court,” he said.

Sharma said those issuing threats of mass agitation in Kashmir and elsewhere must remain within limits as their “poisonous propaganda with malafide intentions to subjugate masses would boomerang. Pressurizing the Supreme Court by issuing threats is unlawful and demands legal action”.

In an apparent reference to the National Conference provincial president Devender Singh Rana over his statement that the revocation of the Article 35A is detrimental to the interests of the people of the state, he said a lawmaker recently said the ‘state subject’ law was introduced by the Maharaja Hari Singh to safeguard the interests of the people of the state.

“Maharaja was the king and the owner of the princely state before its accession with India. Post accession, there is no need for such a discriminatory provision,” he said.

He appealed to Governor N N Vohra to register criminal cases against those who were conspiring to undermine the national integrity by making anti-national statements on the issue.

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