Permanent residents?are conferred?special rights and privileges in public sector jobs, acquisition of property in the state, scholarships, and other public aid and welfare. Photograph:( Reuters )
The Supreme Court will on Monday hear four petitions demanding the scrapping of Article 35A which grants special privileges to Jammu & Kashmir.
The original petition was filed by Delhi-based NGO We the citizen, saying the state’s autonomous status granted by Article 370 and Article 35(A) of the Constitution discriminates against fellow citizens from the rest of the country.
What is article 35A?
Article 35A is a provision in the Constitution that empowers the J&K Legislature to define "permanent residents" of the state.
Permanent residents are conferred special rights and privileges in public sector jobs, acquisition of property in the state, scholarships, and other public aid and welfare.
The provision mandates that no act of the legislature coming under it can be challenged for violating the Constitution or any other law of the land.
Article 35A was added through the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, issued under Article 370.
The J&K legislature can alter the definition of "permanent resident" only through a law passed by a two-thirds majority.
Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution by an order by then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet.
The petition We the Citizens challenges the validity of both Article 35A and Article 370. It argues that four representatives from Kashmir were part of the Constituent Assembly involved in the drafting of the Constitution, and that the state of Jammu and Kashmir was never accorded any special status under the Constitution. It contends that Article 370 was only a "temporary provision" to help bring normalcy to Jammu and Kashmir and strengthen democracy in the state. And that the writers of the Constitution did not intend Article 370 to be a tool to bring about permanent amendments -- like Article 35A -- in the Constitution
The petition states that Article 35A is against the “very spirit of oneness of India” as it creates a “class within a class of Indian citizens”.
And that stopping citizens of other states from finding employment or buying property in Jammu and Kashmir is a violation of fundamental rights under Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution.