NGO wants Constitution bench to hear plea for scrapping Art 35-A
Jammu, Aug 05: An RSS-linked NGO, which has moved the Supreme Court for scrapping Article 35-A that gives special rights and privileges to the Jammu and Kashmir natives, today 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 35-A should be decided by a Constitution bench,” Chetan Sharma, convener of the J&K chapter of the ‘We the Citizens’, told reporters here.
The Article 35-A, 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 denies property rights to a native woman who marries a person from outside the state.
It also bars people from outside the state from acquiring any immovable property in the state.
The main petition demanding scrapping of the Article 35-A 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 (Monday, Aug 06).
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 35-A and eight petitions were filed jointly against our petition in the apex court,” he said.
He dismissed as “propaganda” that revocation of the Article would cause a massive jolt to the state and said Kashmir-centric parties and “some so-called intellectuals in Jammu” are misleading the people on the issue even as it is sub-judice.
“We do not have the right to speak on the issue either as it is pending before the Supreme Court. But certain developments over the past couple of days compelled us to negate the propaganda in the state,” he 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,” he said, adding that pressurizing the Supreme Court by issuing threats is unlawful and demands legal action.
“We appeal to the central government and the state administration for dealing these anti-nationals with iron hand. The Supreme Court decides on the facts and cannot be pressurized by the masses. We have deep faith in the Indian judiciary and the Indian flag will keep fluttering with all its might,” he said.
In an apparent reference to the National Conference provincial president Devender Singh Rana over his statement that the revocation of the Article 35-A 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.