Supreme Court adjourn hearing on Article 35 A to January after government argued of security issue

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday has put off hearing petitions against the Constitution’s Article 35A till January 19, 2019. The Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir government argued that any decision on Article 35A could lead to deterioration of law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir where panchayat elections are scheduled to be held soon.

Article 35A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AM Khanwilkar and DY Chandrachud  heard the petition today, and decided to take up the matter for hearing after Panchayat polls are concluded in the State of Jammu & Kashmir.

Additional solicitor general Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Jammu and Kashmir government, said that any debate on Article 35A at this juncture would have an impact on the law and order situation in the valley where elections to over 4500 posts of sarpanch and to 1145 wards are scheduled. If these elections do not take place, then Rs 4,335 crore financial grant would lapse, he said.

Petitioners challenging Article 35A objected to ASG Mehta’s arguments, however, the three-bench Supreme Court bench turned down their request.

“You are challenging an order of 1954 now,” Chief Justice Dipak Misra said.

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