What has India gained by conferring special status to Jammu and Kashmir? What has India gained by conferring separate laws, separate Constitution and separate flag to Jammu and Kashmir? What has India gained by not allowing people from other parts of the country to come and settle in Jammu and Kashmir? It is separatists and anti-Indian forces who have gained by all this!
Truth be told, a five-Judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is examining a law which denies Kashmiri women and their descendants of their property rights should they marry anyone outside the state and bars them from applying for local jobs. What nonsense! Why should a Kashmiri women be barred from property rights or any other rights just because she marries someone from outside the state? This alone explains why Article 35A has been challenged many times in the past.
Before proceeding ahead, it is imperative to first understand what Article 35A is all about and how it crept inside our Constitution. The President while invoking the powers vested in him under Article 370 clause (d) issued “The Constitution (Application to Jammu & Kashmir) Order 1954 on May 14, 1954 (C.O. 48)” where under many provisions of Constitution and entries of Schedules were made applicable to J&K. The order, inter alia, states, “After Article 35, the following new Article shall be added, namely:
“35A. Saving of laws with respect to permanent residents and their rights- Notwithstanding anything contained in this Constitution, no existing law in force in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and no law hereafter enacted by the Legislature of the State: (a) defining the classes or persons who are, or shall be, permanent residents of the State of Jammu and Kashmir; or (b) conferring on such permanent residents any restrictions as respects: (i) employment under the State Government; (ii) acquisition of immovable property in the State; (iii) settlement in the State; or (iv ) right to scholarships and such other forms of aid as the State Government may provide, shall be void on the ground that it is inconsistent with or takes away or abridges any rights conferred on the other citizens of India by any provision of this Part.”
In all fairness, Article 35A and 370 must be scrapped and Jammu and Kashmir must be integrated with the rest of India. As far as protests in J&K are concerned, that has been happening since 1947, nothing new. Kashmir Valley cannot alone be allowed to hold the whole State of Jammu and Kashmir to ransom!
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate,
s/o Col BPS Sirohi,
A 82, Defence Enclave,
Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera,
Meerut – 250001, Uttar Pradesh.