The Supreme Court on Friday deferred hearing on Article 35A relating to the special rights and privileges enjoyed by the residents of Jammu and Kashmir till January 19, 2019, amid two-day bandh call given by separatists to support it. The SC began hearing a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A on Friday morning.

The apex court agreed that it will hear the petitions after Panchayat elections are over after the Government cited law and order issue in Jammu and Kashmir.

ASG Tushar Mehta representing J&K said before the SC said that all the security agencies are engaged in the preparation of the local body elections in the state while AG KK Venugopal appearing for Centre urged the court to allow local body elections finish in a peaceful manner.

Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former advocate general of Jammu and Kashmir , Muzaffar Hussain Baig, who is representing PDP in hearing on Article 35A in SC, said it was a wise and deliberate decision taken by the court and there is no harm is adjourning the case but there was harm in continuing hearing the case as that would disrupt the local body (Panchayat) polls.

RESTRICTIONS IMPOSED

Restrictions were imposed on Thursday in Jammu & Kashmir to prevent protests called by separatists in support of Article 35A.

“Restrictions have been imposed in areas under the jurisdiction of Nowhatta, Khanyar, Rainawari, M.R. Gunj and Safa Kadal police stations while partial restrictions will remain in force in areas under Kralkhud and Maisuma police stations on Thursday and Friday,” a police statement said on Thursday.

RAILWAY SERVICES SUSPENDED

Adding to the woes of the people of the state, railway services between Baramulla and Bannihal towns have been suspended for two days, in wake of the protests called by the separatists.

Though the restrictions imposed are preventive in nature as per the police officials, a huge number of paramilitary personnel have been deployed in the areas under restrictions.

DEMAND FOR HEARING ADJOURNMENT

Earlier, the state administration approached the Supreme Court seeking an adjournment of the August 31 hearing in view of the upcoming local body in the state. Though the dates for the elections have not been finalised, they are likely to be held in September.

WHAT IS ARTICLE 35A?

The contentious article was added in the constitution by a Presidential Order in 1954. It accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and denies the right to buy property to an outsider.

The article has also been criticised as it denies property rights to women who marry those from outside the state. The provision also applies to their heirs.

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