35-A

Governor’s rule not about deciding Article 35-A, says JK Chief Secretary

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Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday said that a consistent stand would be adopted on the legal challenge to Article 35-A of the constitution before the Supreme Court of India, PTI reported.

“As far as Article 35-A is concerned, the Governor (Satya Pal Malik) has gone on record multiple times and he has clearly said that this is not an elected government and it would be right if an elected government within the state actually fights the case in the Supreme Court,” state chief secretary B V R Subrahmanyam told reporters here.

Subrahmanyam said there was no link between the timing of holding panchayat elections in the state and deferment of hearing of the PIL challenging Article 35-A before the Supreme Court.

“There have been multiple postponement of the hearings of Article 35-A in the Supreme court before and after the panchayat elections were announced. It is just accidental that the case is listed in January and the panchayat elections are to be completed before that,” he said.

The chief secretary said the Governor’s administration is going to be consistent in its stand before the apex court that an elected state government should fight the case.

“The stand of the governor’s adminstration is going to be consistent in the Supreme Court that there are many serious complex issues which have to be discussed as far as Article 35-A is concerned and these should not be discussed when Governor’s rule is in place. These should be discussed when an elected government is in place, which will take a solid position in the Supreme Court. So, there is absolute clarity that Governor’s rule is not about deciding Article 35-A,” he said.

When inquired about when the assembly polls will be held in the state, the chief secretary said it was for authorities higher than him to decide.

“I am not competent to answer this question. It is for the authorities higher than me to decide,” he said adding that an assembly was in place in the state.

The comments come at a time when the Supreme Court of India adjourned the hearing of petitions against Article 35-A in the Constitution to January next year.

This came after Jammu and Kashmir government approached the SC seeking adjournment of the hearing.

In a letter to the Registrar of the Supreme Court and circulated, M Shoeb Alam, the standing counsel for the state in the apex court, sought adjournment of hearing on five petitions scheduled for Friday, by a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra.

According to Intelligence reports, agencies had warned about the revolt in the police ranks in a written communication to the state government.

People across the political and regional divide have come together to protest against attempts to revoke Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution which empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.

National Security Advisor of India Ajit Doval at a book launch on Sardar Vallabhai Patel on said that having a separate constitution for Jammu and Kashmir was ‘probably an aberration’ and stressed on the fact that sovereignty can never be compromised.


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