New Petition By BJP Leader Adjourned

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NEW DELHI — The Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing of a fresh petition filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and lawyer, Ashwini Upadhyay, seeking scrapping of Article 35A in Jammu and Kashmir. The article gives special status to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. Reportedly, the hearing was dropped after petitioner Ashwani Upadhyay has moved an adjournment letter in the court.

However, the main hearing for Article 35A is listed on August 31. Earlier this month, the top court had adjourned the hearing, saying its three-judge bench has been hearing the case and will consider whether it has to be referred to a larger bench.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar had said that the matter has to be heard by a three-judge bench and Justice D Y Chandrachud, who is also a part of the bench, was not present. CJI Misra observed that the apex court has to consider whether Article 35-A goes against the basic structure of the Constitution.

NGO, We the Citizens, had filed the petition in the apex court seeking to abolish the law on the grounds that it is “unconstitutional”.

Article 35-A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state. The provision, which leads to such women from the state forfeiting their rights over property, also applies to their heirs. “Once you have challenged the constitutional validity of Article 35-A, it has to go before a Constitution bench. A three-judge bench will determine it. A three-judge bench has been dealing with it,” the CJI had said.

The Jammu and Kashmir government had on August 3 moved the apex court seeking adjournment of last (August 6) hearing on petitions challenging the validity of Article 35-A, citing the forthcoming local body elections.

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