What Is Article 35A And Why It Is A Sensitive Issue In Kashmir

Article 35A gives Jammu and Kashmir the right to decide who are its permanent residents are and give them special rights in government jobs, on buying property in the state, scholarships and other schemes

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What Is Article 35A And Why It Is A Sensitive Issue In Kashmir

Article 35A of the Constitution defines permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.


Srinagar: 

Highlights

  1. The legislation prevents outsiders from owning property in the state
  2. Article 35A part of Article 370 which guarantees J&K its own constitution
  3. Political leaders in J&K are united in fight to preserve Article 35A

The Jammu and Kashmir turmoil has been exacerbated by speculation that the centre is planning a big move on special status granted under the constitution to the state. The two constitutional provisions in focus are Article 35A and Article 370. The ruling BJP's opposition to both has been unambiguous and clear in its election manifestos.

What is Article 35A

Article 35A is based on Article 370, which guarantees special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Article 35A gives Jammu and Kashmir the right to decide who are its permanent residents are and give them special rights in government jobs, on buying property in the state, scholarships and other schemes.

Jammu and Kashmir defines its permanent residents as "persons born or settled within the state before 1911 or after having lawfully acquired immovable property and resident in the state for not less than 10 years before that date."

Children of women who marry outside the state lose their state subject rights. In 2002, the Jammu and Kashmir high court held that women married to non-permanent residents will not lose their rights.

The law bans no-permanent residents from settling permanently in the state, buying land, from taking government jobs and scholarships.

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Jammu and Kashmir parties say Article 35A protects the identity of the people of the state and safeguards jobs and scholarships for state subjects

Article 35A was included in the constitution in 1954 by an order of President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru cabinet.

BJP's stand on Article 35A

"We are committed to annulling Article 35A of the Constitution of India as the provision is discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir. We believe that Article 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state. We will take all steps to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for all residents of the state," the BJP said in its manifesto for the 2019 national election, in which it won a huge mandate for a second term.

It also said: "In the last five years, we have made all necessary efforts to ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir through decisive actions and a firm policy. We are committed to overcome all obstacles that come in the way of development and provide adequate financial resources to all the regions of the state. We reiterate our position since the time of the Jan Sangh to the abrogation of Article 370."

The party's manifesto for 2014 - when the Narendra Modi-led BJP came to power decimating the Congress-led UPA after two terms - did not mention either Article 35A or Article 370.

What J&K parties say on Article 35A

Jammu and Kashmir parties say Article 35A protects the identity of the people of the state and safeguards jobs and scholarships for state subjects.

Petition against Article 35A

An NGO - We the Citizens - challenged Article 35A in the Supreme Court on the grounds that it was not added to the Constitution through an amendment under Article 368. It said that instead of being presented before parliament, it came into effect immediately.



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