Know what is Article 35A and why does it become a topic of lots of controversies

Article 35A, Nowadays it has become a very hot topic and trending topic all around the media and political sphere. There are many debates going on the constitutional validity of Article 35A.

Article 35A was incorporated by the order of then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet into the constitution by 1954, which extended Indian citizenship to the ‘State subjects’ of Jammu and Kashmir.

It gives the State Legislature of Jammu & Kashmir the power to define the ‘Permanent Residents’ of the State. With that, the State Legislature can give them Special Rights and Privileges.

This means that only if you have a Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) of J&K, you can enjoy the special Rights. So, what are these special Rights and Privileges?

  • Only the ‘Permanent Residents’ are entitled to own the land in both the parts of the State divided by the LOC.
  • Only the Permanent Residents can apply for government jobs in J&K. When the advertisements for Job applications is released, it is only restricted to the state subjects and persons from other states cannot apply to the job.
  • The scholarships granted by the State Government are only applicable to the state subjects.
  • Only Permanent Residents can contest in the Assembly elections.

Does this sound like Article 35A makes a “class within a class of Indian citizens”? Well, We the Citizens, an NGO has filed a writ petition demanding the abrogation of 35A and 370. They believe that it is against the “spirit of oneness of the Indian citizens”. Their argument is that J&K was never granted a special status within Indian Constitution & this temporary provision should be removed now

How Does it Effects ?

Article 35A is acting as a hindrance in complete development of J&K, affecting every sector of State’s administration. Present situation is that there is no faculty in Engineering colleges, Medical colleges. No professor want to go and teach in Jammu and Kashmir from outside the State because he cannot purchase house for him there, his children cannot get admission in professional colleges, no government service to his children. Today faculty is to be created from within the state, which is not enough.

Another instance can be taken of refugees, who migrated in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in 1947 from West Pakistan and residing in the state for nearly 68 years, but still treated as a second class citizen of the state. They are considered to be an Indian citizen but not the citizens of the State. They are disentitled to be on the electoral rolls of the State assembly. Not only this, they are denied many basic amenities and civil rights, which other Indian citizens have in other parts of the country, such as, the right to acquire any immovable property in the State, the right to employment under the State, right to start an industry, purchase a motor vehicle.

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