Cauvery row: Article 35A sensitive, Centre informs Supreme Court

Cauvery row: Article 35A sensitive, Centre informs Supreme Court”

Four petitions demanding scrapping of the provision were listed for Monday before a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud.

In October a year ago also, SC had deferred the hearing for three months after Center told the apex court that it had appointed an interlocutor for holding talks with various stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir and requested it to adjourn the hearing over the politically contentious issue, claiming the court hearing may affect the dialogue process.

Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Ranjit Kumar said Article 35A of the Indian Constitution and Section 6 of the J&K Constitution read together provided that while a state subject, if she returned from Pakistan having migrated before 1954, would be entitled to employment and could own property in the state, Indians from others states would not be entitled to the benefits even if they were born and had lived in the state for decades.

Dineshwar Sharma, former director of the Intelligence Bureau (IB), was appointed the Centre's interlocutor for J& K on October 23 a year ago. It was added through the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 issued under Article 370 of the Constitution.

The main petition was filed by a Delhi-based NGO "We the Citizens" in 2014.

At this senior counsel Rakesh Dwivedi said that the bench should at least hear the details of the petition before deciding on a bench.

Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, also representing the state, said that since 1927, the position in this regard was clear and it can not be decided like this.

Another counsel appearing for the petitioners said it was a "human issue" as around five lakh people had migrated out of the state, were residing in places like Delhi and can not go back to the valley.

Petitioner said Article 35A was a violation of the fundamental right of equality under Article 14. He said the Centre would also make submissions on the constitutionality of Article 35A, which gives Jammu and Kashmir special status.

The state government, while defending Article 35 A, had cited two verdicts by the constitution bench of the Supreme Court in 1961 and 1969 which had upheld the powers of the President under Article 370 (1)(d) of the Constitution to pass constitutional orders. As per article 35A of the constitution wherein you can apply for higher education in J&K only if you are a permanent resident of the state.

Three more petitions were filed challenging the Article but were later clubbed with the main one.

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