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Article 35 A issue: J&K seeks adjournment of hearing in SC citing panchayat polls

Article 35 A issue: J&K seeks adjournment of hearing in SC citing panchayat polls
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The Jammu and Kashmir government today approached the Supreme Court seeking an adjournment of the August 6 hearing on petitions challenging the validity of Article 35-A of the Constitution, citing upcoming local body elections in the state.

In a letter to the Registrar of the Supreme Court, standing counsel for the state in the apex court M Shoeb Alam sought an adjournment in five petitions that were scheduled to be heard on Monday by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

The state “…will be seeking an adjournment in the matters on August 6 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 apex court is hearing a batch of petitions in the matter, including the one filed by NGO ‘We the Citizens’ seeking quashing of the article, which confers special status to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

The matter is listed for hearing on Monday before a bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices A M Khanwilkar and D Y 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 a woman who marries a person from outside the state.

The provision, which leads such women from the state to forfeit 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 the Article 35-A that 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 likely to be held in September.

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