Article 35A of the Indian Constitution gives some privileges to the local citizens of Jammu and Kashmir. This includes their citizenship rights, property rights and other special rights. Let’s find out in detail about Article 35A and special rights given to the citizens of J&K.
History of Article 35A and special rights given to the citizens of J&K
- In 1952, former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Jammu and Kashmir’s Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah had decided to formulate the article 35A.
- It was finally on May 14, 1954, on the suggestion of Jawaharlal Nehru that President Rajendra Prasad added Article 35A to Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
- Article 35A is part of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution.
- Under Article 370 (1) (d) of the Indian Constitution, the President gets a special right to make changes to the Constitution.
- Making use of this right, without any bill being passed in the Parliament, Article 35A was added to the Constitution.
- There was no modification or bill in the Indian parliament to implement it. Following special rights received under Article 370 and the support of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Article 35A became part of Article 370.
Privileges under the Article 35A
- Article 35A is a part of the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir which determines the rights of local residents.
- Article 35A separates the rights of the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir from the rest of the Indian nationals.
- “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 of persons who are, or shall be, permanent residents of the State of Jammu and Kashmir; or
(b) conferring on such permanent residents any special rights and privileges or imposing upon other persons 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.”
Who is the permanent resident of Jammu and Kashmir?
- According to the Jammu-Kashmir Legislative Assembly, a permanent resident of J&K is a person who was a citizen of the state at the time when Article 35A was implemented, i.e. on May 14, 1954.
- Apart from this, the person who had been living in the state from 10 years before May 1954 and had real estate or immovable property in his name in J&K is considered a citizen of Jammu and Kashmir.
What is Article 35A – Why people disagree on Article 35A?
- It was not presented in the parliament and passed legally as other bills do.
- An NGO ‘We the Citizens’ filed a written petition for the removal of Article 35A.
- People believe that special status, certain rights and privileges which only permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir enjoy, gives rise to segregation and sectarianism in the state and the country.
- The Constitution does not allow outsiders to work, settle down and buy property in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Scholarships and other types of aid/help are also not provided to other residents.