Article 35A was added to the Indian Constitution in 1954 as part of the deal between the Maharaja of Kashmir, Hari Singh, and the Republic of India to protect the privileges of Kashmiri residents.
It has a provision that gives J&K Assembly the power to decide who all are the ‘permanent residents’ of the state and give them 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.
How did it come about?
Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by an order of the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet. The controversial Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order of 1954 followed the 1952 Delhi Agreement entered into between Nehru and the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah, which extended Indian citizenship to the ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Presidential Order was issued under Article 370 (1) (d) of the Constitution. This provision allows the President to make certain ‘exceptions and modifications’ to the Constitution for the benefit of ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
So Article 35A was added to the Constitution as a testimony of the special consideration the Indian government accorded to the ‘permanent residents’ of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Supreme court is scheduled to hear the petitions challenging the validity of Article 35A on Monday, February 25, which bars outsiders from purchasing land and property in the State and also bars them from government jobs and government scholarships.
Jammu and Kashmir has sought permission from the Supreme Court to circulate a letter to parties for adjourning upcoming hearing on pleas challenging the validity of Article 35A.
‘The present matter involves a sensitive issue regarding challenge to Article 35A of constitution of India. We request that the matter may kindly be heard when an elected government is in place in the state,’ reads the State counsel’s letter to the apex court.
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