NEW DELHI, Aug 29: Jammu and Kashmir government today approached the Supreme Court seeking adjournment of the August 31 hearing on petitions challenging the validity of Article 35-A of the Constitution in view of upcoming local body elections in the State.
In a letter to the Registrar of the Supreme Court and circulated, M Shoeb Alam, the standing counsel for the State in the Apex Court, sought adjournment of hearing on five petitions scheduled for Friday, by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.
The State “will be seeking adjournment in the matters on August 31 on account of the ongoing preparation for the upcoming Panchayat and Urban Local Body and Municipal Elections in the State of Jammu and Kashmir,” the letter said.
“The letter may kindly be circulated to the judges so as to avoid inconvenience to them…” it said.
The Apex Court is hearing a bunch of petitions in the matter, including the one filed by NGO ‘We the Citizens’ seeking quashing of article 35-A, which confers special status to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
The matter is listed for hearing on Friday before a Bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud. Article 35-A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and denies property rights to women who marry those from outside the State.
The provision, which leads to such women from the State forfeiting their right over property, also applies to their heirs. Political parties including the National Conference and the CPI (M), have moved the Supreme Court in support of Article 35-A, that also empowers the state assembly to define “permanent residents” for bestowing special rights and privileges to them. The dates for the local body elections in the State have not been declared yet, but are they likely to be held in September-end.