Need to debate J&K special status issue: govt

Need to debate J&K special status issue: govt

Plea seeking repulsion of Article 35A filed in SC

Need to debate J&K special status issue: govt
The Union government on Monday told the Supreme Court that the grant of special status to Jammu and Kashmir is a sensitive and constitutional issue and it would like a debate on it. The government, however, decided not to file any affidavit on the issue.

“It is a very sensitive matter. It is a constitutional issue. A debate is required,” Attorney General K K Venugopal submitted before a bench of Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justice D Y Chandrachud.

The top law officer was responding to a petition filed by a Delhi-based NGO ‘We the citizens’. The petitioner sought Article 35A to be declared unconstitutional. It had contended that the Jammu and Kashmir government, taking refuge under Article 35A and Article 370 which grants special autonomous status to the state, has been discriminating against non-residents who are debarred from buying properties, getting a government job or voting in the local elections.

“We have taken a conscious decision not to file any counter affidavit in the case because the issues raised for adjudication are the pure question of law,” Venugopal said. Taking his submission into account, the bench decided to post the matter before a three-judge bench after six weeks.

The state government, for its part, defended its special status. It maintained that the 1954 Presidential Order granting special rights to permanent residents of the state has been accepted and acted upon since its enactment and cannot be challenged now.

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