Jammu lawyers bat for continuation of Article 35A

  • Any tinkering with law will have adverse effect on Article 370: Ex-AAG
  • People opposing Article 35-A can’t be well wishers of JK: Ex Jmu bar chief
  • Article 35-A is soul of Article 370: Adv Kundal
  • Jammu would be badly hit if Art 35-A repealed: Adv Qureshi

In a major jolt to BJP and other groups opposing Article 35-A, the senior lawyers of Jammu have favoured continuation of the law, which grants special privileges to residents of Jammu and Kashmir, saying any tinkering with the law would have an adverse effect on Article 370, which grants special status to the State.
“Article 35-A was achieved due to struggle launched in Jammu during Maharaja’s regime by two prominent personalities — comrade Dhanwantri and Advocate Lala Roop Chand Nanda,” senior advocate and former Jammu Bar president, A V Gupta said while participating in discussion-cum-interaction on Article 35-A organised by lawyer Shakeel Ahmed Shakeel, here.
He said for special rights to the State subjects, Jammu had observed complete shutdown for seven days and because of the agitation of Jammu people, the state subject was defined in J&K Constitution and provisions were made that “no outsider can acquire immoveable property in J&K.”
Gupta said people, who are opposing Article 35-A cannot be the well wishers of Jammu and Kashmir as the constitutional guarantees on state subject was achieved after the long struggle by Jammuites.
Former AAG S C Gupta favoured continuation of the Article 35-A, which confers special rights and privileges on permanent residents of J&K and debars non-residents from buying land or property, getting a government job or voting in State Assembly elections..
“The law needs to be further strengthened by the Indian parliament,” he said.
Gupta asserted that any tinkering with Article 35-A would have an adverse effect on Article 370 of Indian Constitution, which accords the special status to J&K.
Gupta said vested interests are misguiding and misleading people in name of demographic change.
“It is duty of the lawyers fraternity to educate common masses about the political implications of scrapping of Article 35-A,” he said.
Former MLC and Advocate M R Qureshi said at the time of State’s accession, certain commitments were made to people of J&K and by a design some vested interests are seeking abrogation of special privileges.
He said Jammu province would be badly hit by tinkering of Article 35-A as maximum number of people from India would settle in Jammu.
According to Qureshi, if Article 35-A was repealed, State would disintegrate resulting in chaos and disturbance of law and order.
Former Assistant Solicitor General of India (ASGI), KK Pangotra, contended that non-issue has been turned into an issue just to vitiate peace in State of J&K.
He emphasised on continuation of Article 35-A.
Advocate Pawan Kundal said Article 35-A was the soul of Article 370 and it should not be altered.
Similar views were expressed by Advocate A M Malik.
The discussion concluded with the decision to hold a massive awareness campaign by involving lawyers, intellectuals and people belonging to different shades of life to make people aware about the various facets of Article 35-A and adverse effects if the law was revoked.
While concluding the discussion, Advocate Supriya Chouhan referred to various historic facts responsible for introduction of Article 35-A and said the privileges enjoyed by the permanent residents’ would be taken away with the abrogation of Article 35-A.
She said J&K is a unique state within India and the spirit of Article 370 needs to be respected and protected.
“The State had rejected idea of Pakistan and acceded to secular Indian State. The voices against Article 35-A are repugnant to spirit of special status enjoyed by the residents of J&K,” added Supriya.