The Government of India has sought ‘views’ of the J&K government on a petition challenging Article 35A of the Indian Constitution before the Supreme Court, sources said Sunday.
Highly placed sources disclosed that the Union Home Ministry has sought the comments of the state government on the petition challenging the constitutional provision conferring special rights and privileges on permanent residents of J&K.
“Yes, the Home Ministry has sought the state government’s views on the petition,” Advocate General, Jehangir Iqbal Ganai told.
The Home Ministry, according to sources, has consulted the State to “formulate its response” on the matter before the Supreme Court.
A think-tank, backed by right-wing RSS, has challenged the constitutional validity of Article 35A, claiming “there is no power conferred on the President of India to amend constitution by incorporating any new Article in the constitution.”
The Advocate General said the case is listed before the Apex Court‘s Registry on Monday. “The case is not listed before the Supreme Court but before its Registry,” he said.
Asked about the state government’s response on the matter, the AG said: “We will first study the contents of the petition and then accordingly draft our response.”
Legal experts have already termed the petition as “legally flawed.”
“Article 370 and Article 35(A) are basic features of the Constitution and the constitutional arrangement between two states and are, therefore, untouchable. The writ petition deserves to be dismissed as the grounds on which it has been filed are legally and constitutionally misconceived,” senior counsel Zaffar Shah had said.
“The petition essentially raises questions which are political in nature. The courts cannot entertain petitions which involve political issues,” Shah said.
On the other hand, political parties including National Conference and Congress have warned of serious ramifications if any attempt was made to weaken Article 35A.
“Any attempt to weaken Article 35A will be detrimental, not only to particular region or community, but the people of all faiths, regions and sub-regions of J&K. Article 35A of Constitution allows the state of Jammu and Kashmir to grant special privileges and rights to permanent residents,” senior National Conference leader Devender Singh Rana had said.
Former Union Minister and senior Congress leader Prof Saifuddin Soz had urged the State government to take the issue of scrapping of Article 35-A seriously and fight the same in Supreme Court will all seriousness.