My offspring should have right to inherit, own property and government job: woman petitioner

One of the hundreds of Jammu and Kashmir women married to men from other States has challenged a provision of the State Constitution that denies her offspring the right to the Permanent Resident Certificate — and consequently the right to acquire immovable property and a government job — by way of a writ petition in the State High Court.

Legal sources on Friday revealed to The Hindu that weeks before the BJP prime-ministerial candidate Narendra Modi’s plea for a nationwide debate on Article 370 of the Constitution — that grants special status to the State of Jammu and Kashmir — the J&K High Court had entertained a petition challenging validity of the section 6 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.

Parabhjit Kour Modi, who has been continuously living and working here after her marriage, along with her non-J&K resident husband and two children, has approached the court with the prayer that Section 6 of the State Constitution be declared ultra vires of the Constitution of India. She argues that her children should have all the rights of a State subject, including the right to inherit and own immovable property besides an opportunity to seek admission to a professional college and subsequently apply for a State government job.

The petitioner has contended that according to Article 14 of the Constitution of India, there could be no discrimination on the basis of sex between the offspring of a male permanent resident and those of a female permanent resident of the J&K irrespective of the status of the spouse’s domicile.

Law Secretary Mohammad Ashraf Mir confirmed that his department had received a notice from the High Court over Prabhjit Kour’s writ petition. “We are examining this case with the State government’s contention that the Permanent Resident status was restricted by the Constitution to only the woman petitioner. Legally and technically, her children are the children of her husband who is from a different State and is not entitled to the Permanent Resident Certificate or the benefits consequent thereupon,” Mr. Mir told The Hindu. Advocate-General Mohammad Ishaq Qadri said he had already opined against two identical female applicants who, much like Prabhjit Kour, had lived in Ganderbal and Sopore after marrying non-J&K husbands.

“Both the women are Kashmiri Muslims and permanent residents of the State but their husbands are Bihari Muslims. They have lived and raised their families here over the last two decades. But these women’s husbands and children are not entitled to any State subject benefit by law and by the Constitution,” Mr. Qadri said.