Supreme Court today tagged a petition challenging constitutionality of Article 35A with several similar petitions already being heard by the court. The apex court observed that if the validity is to be decided, the issue will have to be heard by a 5 judge bench and two issues needed to be sorted.
Firstly, whether it violates the basic structure of the Constitution and secondly, whether the procedure of enactment was beyond the legislature’s authority.
The plea by Charu Wali Khanna and Seema Razdan Bhargava has challenged Article 35A of the Indian Constitution read with Section 6 of J&K Constitution, which deal with inheritance and citizenship in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The lawyer for the petitioner had cited the examples of Farooq Abdullah’s wife (a British lady) and Omar Abdullah’s wife (a non-Kashmiri), whose children would acquire their assets in the state in the usual course, but the same won’t be possible for Kashmiri women who have married non-Kashmiris.
Revocation of Article 35A has been sought on the basis of parity between genders and Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Indian Constitution which grant right to equality.
The petition already being heard by the apex court in this regard was filed in 2015 by an NGO “We the Citizens”, which had claimed that Article 35A was inserted as part of an executive order and wasn’t a part of the initial structure of the Constitution and had challenged the constitutionality of Article 35A, which is being resisted by the valley’s political leadership as an attempt to tinker with the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.