Special Status To Jammu & Kashmir: Apex Court Admits Plea against Article 370

The apex court admitted a plea that challenged the legality of Article 370 and issued notices to the Centre for its response.

New Delhi: In an unexpected development, the apex court on Tuesday admitted a plea challenging the legality of Article 370. The petition challenged the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution.

The petitioner in his plea said that Article 370 has lapsed and insisted that a separate Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir should be declared illegal.

The Supreme Court, which admitted the plea, issued notice to the Centre, asking for its response on the plea. The matter would be heard later in the month.

The context and timing of the plea was at a time when the Article 35A of the Constitution, which entitles the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly to define Permanent Residents of the State is simmering in political circles.

Expressing his concern about Article 35A, National Conference Chief Farooq Abdullah said that its abrogation would lead to a ‘revolt.’ He also cautioned that there will be a mass rising when it will come to that decision. He also reminded how people rose overnight when the Amarnath land row happened in 2008.

It may be recalled that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have been advocating repeal of Article 370 of the Constitution.

But, repealing Article 370 is not an easy task, as it needs approval of Legislative Assembly of the state to make a Constitutional amendment. This situation is very unlikely.

Another provision that is embedded in the Appendices of the Constitution as Article 35 A is considered the real force behind Article 370.

According to Article 35A, no outsider can buy a property or settle in Jammu and Kashmir, not allowed to vote and contest in state Assembly election, and cannot get a job in the state government.

Earlier in December 2015, a PIL was filed in the apex court by an RSS-linked NGO, ‘We the Citizen,’ seeking repeal of Article 35A on the ground of Constitutionality.

Responding to it, the Centre said that it would appropriate for the Supreme Court to decide the matter as it involves complex issues.

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