Lawyers rally support as plea on residents’ status comes up in SC

State yet to file response to petition listed before the apex court on Nov 3

Lawyers rally support as plea on residents’ status comes up in SCThe Kashmir Bar Association has convened a meeting of lawyers from across the Valley and civil society groups to prepare a response to a petition in the Supreme Court challenging Article 35(A) of the Constitution which grants special status to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

The meeting, in which representatives from the district and other Bar associations across Kashmir have been invited to participate, is being held on the High Court premises on Tuesday to decide if the Kashmir Bar Association should participate as an intervener in the petition which is listed before the Supreme Court registry on November 3.

While calling for a “people’s movement” for the protection of Article-35A, Kashmir-based legal experts have already warned that if this 1954 constitutional provision applied through a Presidential Order was abrogated, J&K would lose the its special status in terms of permanent residentship, right to property and employment.

“Yes, we have called for a meeting of all Bar associations on Tuesday to decide whether we should participate as interveners in the petition challenging Article 35A,” said High Court Bar Association vice-president Ajaz Bedar.

The Bar meeting and its interest in challenging the petition assumes importance as the J&K Government is yet to formally respond to the petition.

Bedar said the daylong meeting on Tuesday, in which two representatives from each Bar had been invited for participation, will try to seek out a consensus for opposing the petition against Article 35A.

The petition before the apex court challenging Article 35A was filed more than a year ago by “We the Citizens”, a Delhi-based non-governmental organisation, through its president Sandeep Kulkarni. Notices were first issued to the Central and J&K governments on August 19, 2014. However since then both the Centre as well as the state government have evaded filing a response to the petition.

More recently, the case was listed before the Supreme Court registry on August 17, when the J&K Government was granted till November 3 to file its response to the petition.

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