06 Aug 2018
Article 35A: SC defers hearing as Kashmir goes into shutdown
The SC has adjourned its scheduled hearing on Article 35A to the last week of August as protests continued to rock Kashmir.
The J&K government and the Centre had sought a deferment citing the "sensitive situation" and the upcoming elections of local bodies.
Separatist outfits had threatened a mass agitation if the court strikes down the controversial article.
What is Article 35A?
Article 35A bestows special privileges on the J&K government and the state's 'permanent residents.'
Some of these include restrictions on people from outside the state buying immovable property in J&K or settling there permanently.
Outsiders can't be hired by the state government either, nor can they avail state-sponsored scholarship schemes.
The article was added to the Constitution through a 1954 Presidential Order.
Batch of petitions in the SC against Article 35A
Several petitions have challenged the Article in the SC, arguing it was added in the Constitution as an "appendix" and not amendment.
Since the president couldn't have "amended the Constitution" through the 1954 order, it was only a "temporary provision," and so should be now held "unconstitutional."
The J&K government has defended it, claiming the president has the power to incorporate new constitutional provisions.
Protests have rocked the Kashmir valley ahead of hearing
Protests have continued in Kashmir in the last few days. In Srinagar, Moderate Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and JKLF chief Mohammad Yasin Malik led separate marches in support of Article 35A.
Demonstrations rocked Kangan, Sonamarg and Bandipora.
In Anantnag, traders took out a march from Lal Chowk to Court Road.
Despite threats of violence, no untoward incidents have been reported.
Amarnath Yatra suspended twice till now
The state went into a complete two-day shutdown yesterday. Streets were deserted, shops closed and vehicles stayed off roads.
The Amarnath Yatra was suspended fearing violence.
However, those at the Baltal and Pahalgam camps have been allowed to continue.
This was the second suspension: earlier, it was put on hold on Burhan Wani's death anniversary.
The security cover this time is the largest ever.
Hearing adjourned as Justice DY Chandrachud not present: SC
The SC will resume hearings from August 27. The court attributed the adjournment to the fact that Justice DY Chandrachud, one of the three-judge bench, wasn't present.
The court has maintained that they will only look into "whether Article 35A goes against the basic structure of Constitution."
Accordingly, it will take a call on whether the matter should be referred to a Constitution Bench.