Other States

Mehbooba discusses Art. 35(A) with Rajnath

Mehbooba Mufti  

Home ministry held a series of consultations with the law ministry on Article 35(A), which has been challenged in the Supreme Court by the way of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) last month.

The constitutional validity of Article 35A, which prohibits a non-J&K resident from buying property in the State and ensures job reservation for J&K residents, has been challenged in the Supreme Court by an NGO. J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti and her political rival Omar Abdullah have strongly objected to any tinkering with it.

Ms Mufti met home minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday and is learnt to have discussed the subject.

Home ministry is learnt to have told Attorney General (AG) KK Venugopal that the issue being discussed in the apex court was a matter of interpretation of law for which “no affidavit was required.”

Mr. Venugopal had informed the SC on July 17 that the government wanted a “larger debate” on the subject and the matter was transferred to a three-judge bench. While the State government had submitted a counter-affidavit, Centre did not do so, leading to apprehensions that it was in favour of challenging Article 35A.

“The AG has been briefed that the validity of Article 35A is a legal issue. Whether it is to be treated as a procedural issue as per the PIL or a substantive issue as per the Constitution has to be decided by the court,” said a senior home ministry official.

The official declined to comment whether the Centre will support or oppose the petition.

“AG is not appointed to say the Constitution is wrong. The former AG Mukul Rohatgi was also briefed on the subject and it has been a consistent opinion of both the AGs that this is a issue of law and no affidavit is required to state the Constitution,” the official said.

Article 35A was added by a Presidential Order in 1954 under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which grants special status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Ms Mufti had said earlier that “any attempts to tinker with Article 35(A) would have repercussions and India will not get a shoulder to carry its national flag in J&K.”

Mr. Abdullah had said that those seeking a debate on the special status accorded to J&K are “playing with fire” as the issue is linked to the State's accession to India and they are “two sides of the same coin.”

This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 21, 2021 1:44:24 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/mehbooba-discusses-art-35a-with-rajnath/article19467000.ece

Next Story