Deciding on Art 35-A
Why in news?
The Supreme Court has recently adjourned the hearing on petitions relating to Article 35-A.
What is Art 35-A?
- Art 35-A empowers the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution to define “permanent residents” (PR) of the state.
- It was brought in by a presidential order in 1954.
What is the case?
- The Supreme Court is hearing petitions challenging the validity of Art 35A.
- The validity of the negotiations which led to the adoption of Article 370 is also questioned.
- The Centre also said an interlocutor has been appointed and the talks are going on.
What is the contention?
- There is a contention that any restrictions differentiating residents and non-residents are inherently discriminatory.
- But this argument would not only invalidate 35A with respect to Kashmir alone.
- Several other states including Mizoram, Nagaland and Himachal would also be affected by it.
- Abrogating that mechanism is not just abrogating a specific policy.
- It would amount to repudiation of an important part of the legal structure which India’s claims rest upon.
How to deal with it?
- The challenge in leaving it to political process is that the application of this principle could be deeply politicised.
- So the Supreme Court can instead uphold the validity of 35A through its judgement.