While anxiety mounts in Jammu and Kashmir on the fate of Article 35 A, the state government on Wednesday approached the Apex Court registry to submit that it will seek an adjournment of the hearing of the Article 35A case on Friday.
The government’s standing counsel in the Apex Court, ShoebAlam, on Monday circulated a letter to inform the Apex Court registry and lawyers representing different parties that the state will seek a deferment of the hearing of the case when it will come up on August 31.
The undersigned will be seeking an adjournment in the aforesaid matter on 31-08-2018 on account of the ongoing preparations for the upcoming panchayat /urban local bodies elections in the state. This letter may be kindly circulated to the judges so as to avoid any inconvenience to them in reading their briefs,” reads the letter written by Alam to Apex Court Registrar.
A source told that there is every likelihood that Centre will also support the state’s request for the adjournment of the hearing.
The request for the adjournment of the case was also circulated by the state government on the last hearing of case on August 6. The Court adjourned the hearing then due to the absence of one of the judges of the bench.
The case is listed before a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice DipakMisra.
The line adopted by the J&K government headed by the new Governor Satya Pal Malik over the sensitive and emotive matter is similar to the stand taken by the NN Vohra-led government after the collapse of PDP-BJP government.
Vohra was averse to a hearing of the case till an elected government is in place in the state.
On the last hearing of the case, the Apex Court had said that it would first decide whether the pleas challenging Article 35A, which gives special rights to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir, be referred to a five-judge constitutional bench for examining the larger issue.
Under Article 35A, the J&K legislature is empowered to define permanent residents of the state and grant special rights and privileges to them.
In 2014, ‘We The Citizens’ filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking abrogation of the Article 35A on the ground that it was not added to the Constitution 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 Government of India did not file objections to the petition.
In its defence of the Article, the J&K government has cited two verdicts by the Constitution benches of the Supreme Court in 1961 and 1969, which had upheld the powers of the President under Article 370(1) (d) of the Constitution of India to pass such orders.