SC To Hear Article 35-A Petition On November 3
Mufti Mohammad Sayeed during the election campaign: mandate against or for Article 35-A?
SRINAGAR: The Supreme Court Monday allowed the plea of J&K government that it must be granted more time to respond to a petition challenging Article 35A of the Indian Constitution by an RSS-backed organisation.
A senior PDP leader and cabinet minister in the state government said the apex court set a fresh deadline of November 3 to the state government for preparing its response. "We have enough time in our hands and we will use our best legal brains to prepare the response which will be then sent to the union home ministry,” the minister said.
He said the chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was apprised about the matter last week following which the state's Law Secretary, Muhammad Ashraf Mir and Advocate General, Jehangir Iqbal Ganai, met the law minister, Basharat Bukhari.
Bukhari, according to sources, has directed the law department to get advice from legal experts on the matter before sending the response to the home ministry which had earlier sent notice to his ministry, seeking its views after the RSS-backed ‘Jammu Kashmir Study Centre’ (JKSC) challenged the constitutional validity of Article 35A at the apex court.
Article 35A, an "outgrowth" of Article 370 of Indian Constitution which gives special status to J&K, grants special rights and privileges on permanent residents of J&K and debars non-residents from buying land or property, getting a government job or voting in the Legislative Assembly elections.
The JKSC had challenged the Article 35A in the apex court last month, terming it as "illegal" since “there is no power conferred on the President of India to amend constitution by incorporating any new Article in the constitution.”
The issue is likely to flare up more trouble for the embattled chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed with the opposition political parties including National Conference and Congress as well as the Hurriyat warning of "dire consequences" if any attempt is made to weaken Article 35A.