Annulment of 35-A: A Menace to Jammu and Kashmir | Farhat Shabir

People of J&K Protesting Against The Petition Filed To Abrogate 35-A
Article 35- A is a provision added to the Indian Constitution that authorises the state legislature of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) to define not only her 'permanent residents' but also promises them special rights and privileges in public sector employment and pubic sector scholarships. This was intended to safeguard the distinctive identity of the people of Jammu and Kashmir. The article prohibits the non-permanent residents from permanent settlement in the state, acquiring immovable property, joining govt jobs and receiving state sponsored scholarships.

The permanent residents of the state are those who have been residing in the state for a period of 10 years and were state subjects on may 14, 1954 with immovable property which is acquired lawfully. By the presidential order, 35-A was incorporated into the Indian constitution in the year 1954. This provision endows the president of India to make certain refinements for the benefit of state subjects of J&K.

It is important to take into account the legislative history of how the article came into force. It was indeed, an aftermath of the Delhi Agreement-1952 between India and and the state of Jammu and Kashmir, represented by PM Nehru of India and PM of J&K, Sheikh Abdullah respectively. 

The article grants special concession of certain immunities to the permanent residents of the state .The permanent residents who would be considered as citizens of India will at the same time be  granted special rights.

The petition filed in the top court of India for the abrogation of the article concludes that the Article is abolishing the spirit of 'oneness of India'  and creates a 'class within class'. Furthermore, the NGO that has filed the petition, alleges that the Article 35-A violates the 'right to equality' of the Indian Constitution. Some of the supporters of abrogation of the 35-A also interpret the article as discriminating against Jammu and Kashmir women because it disqualifies them from their state subjects right when they are married to a non resident- outside the state. The article has been criticised by the the ruling BJP as a provision that encourages inequality, separate identity and creates political gap between J&K and India.  

No doubt the abrogation of Article 35-A will take the state to its end and it's reunification is not at all unknown. It is the only knot that ties the state of J&K with India. Scrapping of the article will be a threat to our bare existence. The abrogation will henceforth lead to the erosion of J&K autonomy (whatever is left) and will ultimately trigger demographic changes in the Muslim majority state, which may effect the politics of the disputed region forever. 

The fact that how J&K became a part of India is not at all unknown. The relationship between the state with India is different and unique, owing to the disputed nature of the region and its history. Thus to compare it with the relationship that India shares with other states is absurd. The argument of "constitutional equality" henceforth dies a natural death.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is among the most beautiful places on earth and remained peaceful most during the past, except the times following the invasions by outsiders.

It is sad to note that at a time when the UN has published a report on the human rights violation in the J&K, Indian political parties instead of resolving the problems faced by the people of the state from past many years, create this turmoil (abrogation of the 35A and other such issues leading to more and more chaos) in the state to desperately win the elections.

About the Author: Farhat Shabir is a Student of B,Sc, Semester V at GDC Poonch. She belongs to Haveli tehsil of district Poonch.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are strictly personal and do not necessarily represent the views of the Pir Panjal Post

Pir Panjal Post is a blogging outlet which aims at educating people and creating awareness on the issues concerning human society like Education, Politics, Economics, Science, art and literature. The main focus of this blog is on encouraging the budding writers, poets, painters, calligraphers, photographers etc. Besides, it intends to serve the vernacular languages.

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