Hearing on Article 35-A deferred in Supreme Court Hearing After 8 Weeks
New Delhi: Hearing on Article 35-A was deferred for 8 (Eight) weeks today as the Attorney General of India K.K. Venugopal requested for an adjournment of the matter for at least 6 months. The said request of the Attorney General was strongly opposed by Advocate Suhail Malik who was appearing for an impleader Farooq Ganai. The Counsel for the impleader strongly opposed the request and said that “it seems that the union government is not serious about the matter, it is a very sensitive issue for us”. After an intense exchange of arguments, the Supreme Court finally adjourned the matter for 8 weeks.
In 2014, an NGO ‘We the Citizens’ filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking the striking down of the Article 35A as it was not added to the Constitution through following the procedure prescribed in the Article 368 of the Indian Constitution. In response, while the J&K Government filed a counter-affidavit and sought dismissal of the petition, the Union Government did not. Similarly, two Kashmiri women filed another case in the Supreme Court in 2017 against the Article 35-A for its discrimination against J&K women. As a response, in a recent hearing in July 2017, Attorney General K K Venugopal told SC that Union Government was not keen on filing an affidavit in the case, instead, the government wants a ‘larger debate’ on the subject.
The petition has been filed by Delhi-based little known NGO “We the Citizens” in the year 2014. Those associated with the non- governmental organization have close links with the right-wing Hindu groups. In this petition, the NGO has prayed that Article 35A should be struck down, claiming that President has no powers to insert new Article in the Constitution of India. “The Constitution (application to J&K order 1954) has been issued by the President of India by exercising power conferred under clause 1 of Article 370 of Constitution of India. A perusal of Article 370 would clearly show that there is no power conferred on the President of India to amend Constitution by incorporating any new Article in the Constitution. Therefore, inclusion of Article 35-A within Part-III of the Constitution of India is absolutely unconstitutional. Therefore, the provisions contained in Presidential Order 1954 may be declared to be unconstitutional,” the petition reads. According to the petition, “The Constitution can be amended only by the Parliament. No process of amendment can alter it. Any action taken contrary to Article 368 shall be void and void ab-initio.