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Jammu And Kashmir: Article 35A And Its Significance Explained

Written By Apoorva Rao | Mumbai | Published:

Hack:

  • Article 35A has been debatable part of the Constitution among the people
  • There are those who favour the abrogation of the Article and here are politicians from the state who insist that the Article must prevail at all costs
  • Article 35A gives J&K legislature to define its permanent residents and bestow special rights on them

Article 35A has been debatable part of the Constitution among the people. There are those who favour the abrogation of the Article, with some even petitioning the Supreme Court challenging its validity, and there are politicians from the state who insist that the Article must prevail at all costs and Jammu and Kashmir must continue to retain its special identity through the special rights bestowed by 35A. Below is a primer on Article 35A.

What does Article 35A entail?

Article 35A allows the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to define who are permanent residents of the state. It was inserted through the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, which was issued by President Rajendra Prasad under Article 370, on the Centre' s advice i.e.by the advice of the cabinet of India's then PM Jawahar Lal Nehru.

As per the J&K Constitution which was adopted in 1956, it defined a permanent resident as someone who was a state subject on May 14, 1955, or who has been a resident of the state for ten years and has lawfully acquired immovable property. A non-state subject cannot buy land or settle permanently in Jammu and Kashmir. It also ensures the permanent resident's special rights and privileges in government jobs, scholarships, aids and acquisition of property.

The spirit of the article flows from 1827 and 1832 state subject laws of then Dogra ruler.

Here's what Article 35A says:

AFTER ARTICLE 35, THE FOLLOWING NEW ARTICLE SHALL BE ADDED, NAMELY:— 

“35A. Saving of laws with respect to permanent residents and their rights, — 

Notwithstanding anything contained in this Constitution, no existing law in force in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and no law hereafter enacted by the Legislature of the State,— 

A) Defining the classes of persons who are, or shall be, permanent residents of the State of Jammu & Kashmir; or 

B) Conferring on such permanent residents any special rights and privileges or imposing upon other persons any restrictions as respects 

1) Employment under the State Government 

2) Acquisition of immovable property in the State 

3) Settlement in the State; or 

4) Right to scholarships and such other forms of aid as the State Government may provide, shall be void on the ground that it is inconsistent with or takes away or abridges any rights conferred on the other citizens of India by any provision of this Part.” 

READ | Congress' Digvijaya Singh Fearmongers On Article 35A, Says 'Centre Wants Kashmir, Not Kashmiris'

Objection to Article 35A

The article lacks parliamentary sanction as it only made part of the Constitution only by presidential order, 

Other hurdles attributed to Article 35A

There is ambiguity over the permanent resident status for children of women marrying outsiders. The law also becomes a great obstacle to private sector investment owing to permanent resident status.

READ | Pakistan Jumps Into Article-35A Debate, Imran Khan's Minister Echoes Mehbooba Mufti On Kashmir Issue

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