Supreme Court defers hearing on Article 35-A to January 2019

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Supreme Court of India

Srinagar: The Supreme Court of India on Friday adjourned the hearing on a string of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Article 35-A, which protects the state subject laws and special rights and privileges of J&K’s permanent residents.

The crucial case was heard by the Apex Court as Kashmir and parts of Chenab and Pir Panjal regions are observing a complete shutdown today for second consecutive day in defence of the constitutional provision that restricts government jobs, admissions in professional institutions and scholarships to the state subjects.

The court said the next hearing on the case would take place in the second week of January next year, media reports said.

Joint Resistance Leadership had called for shutdown on August 30 and 31 to protest the attempt to scrap the legislation.

On the last hearing of the case, the Apex Court had said that it would first decide whether the pleas challenging Article 35-A need to be referred to a five-judge constitutional bench for examining the larger issue.

The J&K government, in its affidavit filed during the PDP-BJP government, had sought dismissal of the petition, reasoning the matter has already been settled by the top court.

In its defence of the Article, the J&K government had cited two verdicts by the Constitution benches of the Supreme Court in 1961 and 1969, which had upheld the powers of the President under Article 370(1)(d) of the Constitution of India to pass such orders.

In 2014, ‘We – The Citizens’ filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking abrogation of Article 35-A on the ground that it was not added to the Constitution following the procedure prescribed in the Article 368 of the Indian Constitution.

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