Article 35A was introduced in 1954 by the way of a Constitutional Order by the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Nehru government
The government on August 5 imposed Section 144 of the CrPC in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K)’s Srinagar district.
Multiple political leaders were also detained or arrested. National Conference (NC)’s Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Mehbooba Mufti were also placed under house arrest.
Political parties in J&K had expressed apprehensions about such action after the Centre deployed additional troops and curtailed the Amarnath Yatra.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik had earlier dismissed speculation that the Centre might be planning to do away with Article 35A of the Constitution, which gives exclusive rights to the state's residents in government jobs and land.
When was the provision introduced?
Article 35A was introduced in 1954 by the way of a Constitutional Order by the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Nehru government.
To make any changes to the constitution or add a new law, the process prescribed by the constitution is to introduce the bill in the Parliament.
However, under Article 370(1) (d) the President is allowed make exceptions and modifications with the concurrence of the government of the state for the benefit of the subjects of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
What is the origin of the provision?
There was a protest by the Kashmiri Pandits against the appointment of people from Punjab in the state’s administration. Because of this, Maharaja Hari Singh introduced a law in 1927, granting permanent citizens certain privileges. Post-independence Nehru had signed the 1952 Delhi Agreement with the Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah.
The Delhi Agreement granted citizens of J&K citizenship under certain agreements between the Centre and the state.
What does Article 35A entail?
Article 35A gives the J&K government the right to decide who qualifies as a ‘permanent resident’. The permanent resident is subject to some special rights.
Only permanent residents can acquire land, settle, and get government jobs, scholarships in the state.
The Article also says none of the above laws can be held as void on the ground that it takes away the rights conferred on other citizens of the country.
What is the government’s stand?
The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has refused to stand by Article 35A. The former chief ministers of J&K Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah, among others have warned against tampering of the law.
Have there been cases against this provision earlier?
The Supreme Court has struck down three cases, demanding the scrapping of Article 35A, which claimed that it can only be introduced through the process prescribed by Article 368 i.e. by introducing the bill in the parliament. In the 1961 judgement, the court said that the word modification should be given the widest meaning in the context of the Constitution.(With inputs from PTI)