Joining the ongoing debate over Article 35A of the Indian Constitution, Awami National Conference of Jammu & Kashmir chief Muzaffar Shah has said that the Supreme Court of India has no powers to fiddle with Article 35 A or Article 370.
The issue has come to the centre stage of controversy after the Supreme Court's indication that it may be dealt with by a five-judge constitution bench, to ascertain that, if Article 35 A relating to special rights and privileges of the citizens of the Jammu and Kashmir is ultra vires of the Constitution or if there is any procedural lapse.
Shah said that, "Only the constituent assembly of J&K can make amendments with respect to article 35-A and Article 370."
"Touching Article 35 A, means inviting constitutional crisis in country," Shah said while addressing a press conference at party's office here.
He said, "Article 35 A has come into existence by the intervention of the government of India, but it is there since the times of Maharaja. "It was framed in 1846. Article 6 covers this all that has been included in the J&K constitution by Sher-e-Kashmir trough Maharaja in 1950 to safeguard our state. Our state subject laws are 150 years old."
Shah said even the Supreme Court of India can't interfere with Article 370 or 35 A. He asked the Indian government to hold a referendum in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh about the amendment in the issue of Article 35 A, and you will get the answer.
Article 35 A of the Indian Constitution is an article that empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state's legislature to define "permanent residents" of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents, while article 370 gives special status to the state of J&K in the Indian Union.
Article 35 A was added to the Constitution by a Presidential Order in 1954 and accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of the Jammu and Kashmir. It also empowers the state's legislature to frame any law without attracting a challenge on grounds of violating the Right to Equality of people from other states or any other right under the Indian Constitution.
It has become a centre stage of controversy after a second plea was filed by Charu Wali Khanna, a lawyer and former member of the National Commission for Women, challenging Article 35A of the Constitution and Section 6 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution which deal with the "permanent residents" of the state.
The plea has challenged certain provisions of the Constitution which deny property right to a woman who marries a person from outside the state. The provision, which makes such women from the state to lose rights over property, also applies to her son.