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Article 35 A : The recent controversy

What is Article 35(A)? Is this unconstitutional? Will the  abrogation of Article 35(A) be a betrayal to the state of Jammu and Kashmir or boon to the people of that state? Does Article 35(A) deny social justice to families of Valmiki Samaj (Dalits) and women’s native of the state? Does Article 35 A violate  basic  human and fundamental rights of Migrants  From West Pakistan ? Lastly, is this undemocratic?

These are some most talked and discussed questions nowadays. Article 35(A) is trending in social media, debated in News channels and regular printed by print media. It is variously interpreted and unfortunately even misinterpreted by leaders, separatists and activists. The entire nations is closely watching the ongoing fierce debate on Article 35(A) and the movement is set to get louder. In this article , I will honestly try to analyse the various  dimensions and serious implications of Article 35(A). In a bid to answer the above questions let us keep the mere boundaries of religion and region aside and study it with the spirit of establishing Justice, Equality and Fraternity in the state.

Constitutional Validity of Article 35 A

The procedure of the amendment of the constitution is laid down in Part XX (Article 368) of the constitution of India. Some Articles of the Indian constitution can be amended by simple majority and other by special majority in the parliament. Thus, it gives parliament the power to amend constitution by way of addition, variation and repeal of any provision of constitution in accordance with or without violating the basic doctrine and principles of Indian constitution .

Article 35 A was inserted  to Indian constitution with a presidential order on May 14, 1954. This Article was never presented  before Parliament. It was not discussed and debated in Parliament of India and thus it is questionable on the ground that it was not added to the constitution as per the procedure prescribed in the constitution. It clearly violates Article 368 of the Indian constitution and therefore has no constitutional validity.

What is Article 35 A and what are it’s serious implications?

Article 35 A of the Indian constitution is an article that empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define ‘Permanent Resident’ of the state and provide special right and privileges to those permanent residents.

The women native of the state, families of Valmiki Samaj (Dalits), migrants from West Pakistan and many other reveals a dispiriting and horrifying story. Let us try to understand their plight  and grievances .

Women Native of the State

It is well said that “Shrugging off gender justice means shrugging off democracy”.The provisions of Article 35 A are discriminatory in nature to the women native of the state.  “Valid Till Marriage” was endorsed in Permanent Resident certificate of women of the state issued by Revenue department of J&K before the landmark judgement of High Court in Dr. Sushila Sawhney Vs State of J&K. However, even today if a woman from J&K marries a person outside the state her husband and children are denied succession rights. Her children can’t claim right over her property even after she dies. Her property will transfer to state government. They Will be denied basic rights such as jobs in state government and voting rights in state assemblies election. The paradox is today when we talk about feminism, the esteem feminists maintain silence on this crucial issue of women empowerment .

Families of Valmiki Samaj (Dalits)

Right to vote, right to property, equal opportunities are some basic human rights which can’t be denied under any circumstances. In 1957 around 300 Valmiki  were brought from Punjab to Jammu following a cabinet decision to be employed as Safari Karamchari. They  agreed to work in the state in lieu of promise that the “Permanent Resident” clause will be relaxed in their favour. Today even after five decades of service to the state and people of J&K these families are denied permanent resident rights and privileges. They are denied right to vote in state assemblies  election, property rights and state government jobs.

Today their children have studied up to graduation and even beyond. Even if they deserve or desire to be a KAS/IAS, Professor or teacher in a state government run institution, they are forced to work merely as sweepers. The irony is today when we talk about empowering dalits, the so called dalits leaders are quite on this crucial issue of dalits empowerment.

Migrants from West Pakistan

After Partition around 5,764 families from West Pakistan took shelter in the border areas of Jammu and Kashmir. Their population today is about 2.5 Lakh. Even after 7 decades of Partition these people have not become Permanent Resident of Jammu and Kashmir. The state assembly of Jammu and Kashmir does not find them eligible to be the Permanent Resident of J&K. They are deprived off all civil rights such as voting, scholarship, the right to purchase property etc.

It is said that a lie if repeated a hundred times appears to be truth but the universal fact is that at the end truth stands high. The abrogation of 35A will be a betrayal to the people and state of Jammu and Kashmir is a lie repeatedly spread by separatists. The truth is-35A is unconstitutional and undemocratic. India stands first in the line of democratic nations but Article 35A is ordeal to the democratic outlook of India. This violates Human Rights and overshadow democracy at length. The women native of the state,Dalits,Migrants demands Azad from Article 35A. The need of the hour is to study Article 35A with open mind without restricting our understanding of the topic within the mere boundaries of Region and Religion.There is no political, moral , social or ethical ground to continue the undemocratic  provisions of Article 35A. Since 1954 Article 35A has only act as a cover to the unconstitutional and anti-national  activities of the separatist in the state. The abrogation of Article 35A is inevitable to bring up order in chaos.

These points need to be given a serious thoughts in order to overcome  human right violation, gender discrimination ,  social injustice and to bring up order in chaos in Jammu and Kashmir.

Amullaya Gupta

Amullaya is a 1st year student in Delhi University's Zakir Hussain College. He hails from Jammu and Kashmir. His great grandfather was martyred on 11th November 1947 by the Kabaili Forces and rebels from Maharaja Hari Singh Army. A patriot, Avid reader and a budding writer, he has a firm grip on the issues related to Jammu and Kashmir.

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