Petitions challenging constitutional validity of Article 35A listed in Supreme Court from February 26-28, hearing unlikely

New Delhi: A bunch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A relating to the special rights and privileges enjoyed by the people of Jammu and Kashmir, is listed in the Supreme Court’s Weekly cause list for hearing between February 26 and February 28. The state, however, had sought postponement of the case citing the absence of elected government there.

The Weekly cause list on apex court website shows the matters are listed from February 26-28, but the chances of the hearing are less as Jammu and Kashmir had already moved a letter before the court for an adjournment of the case. The matters are in the Weekly cause list for the last two weeks but have not come up for hearing.

Article 35A disallows people from residing in Jammu and Kashmir, buying or owning immovable property in the state, settle permanently, or get state government jobs. In August 2018, the top court deferred the hearing of the petitions till January. The Jammu and Kashmir’s standing counsel Shoeb Alam had moved an adjournment letter before the court on February 11 and had cited the absence of elected government in Jammu and Kashmir to adjourn the hearing before the Supreme Court which was listed in that week before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.

The state shall be seeking adjournment in the matters on account that since there is presently no elected government in the state of Jammu and Kashmir and the State is under President’s Rule. The present matter involves a sensitive issue regarding a challenge to Article 35A of the Constitution of India. A short reply has been filed by the State of Jammu and Kashmir in the lead matter (We The Citizens) and notices have not been issued in the other petitions. It will, therefore, be requested that the matter may kindly be heard when an elected government is in place, the letter submitted by advocate Shoeb Alam read.

The central government had over the weekend deployed 100 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), CRPF 45, BSF 35, SSB 10 and ITBP 10, in the state. Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik later on Sunday appealed the people of the state to maintain calm and not to panic over the induction of 100 companies of CAPFs, which is only for the election purposes. He further appealed to the people not to “believe in rumours of any extreme nature, which are circulating widely in some quarters and to remain calm”.

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