Article 35A posed serious threat to J&K development: Govt to SC

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New Delhi (NVI): The Article 35A, while posing a serious threat to the socio-economic development of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir, was also discriminatory in nature, government had told the Supreme Court.

In a counter affidavit filed by the Union Government in the Supreme Court, it said the “Article 35A prevented investments in the State, and adversely impacted job creation for the youth which again resulted in a cascading effect on other developmental indicators”.

“One of the major constitutional ambiguity that was created was the addition of a new provision (Article 35A) to the Constitution of India (as applicable in Jammu and Kashmir). This provision enabled the then State to make laws giving special rights and privileges to ‘Permanent Residents’, while imposing restrictions upon others, the government said.

Notably, the Supreme Court in early October had fixed November 14 as the date of hearing on a batch of petitions, challenging the constitutional validity of discontinuing of Articles 370 and 35A which granted special status to erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The government in it affidavit further said that the Article 35 A restricted investments in the state, quality education including in medical and engineering colleges thus leading to limiting the employment opportunities for the local youth.

The government while terming the Article as ‘discriminatory’ through the affidavit to the Apex Court said, “It has led to a discriminatory regime against citizens of the erstwhile State from the rest of the country as well as a large number of residents of Jammu and Kashmir (those who were not ‘State subjects’)”.

The counter affidavit filed by the Ministry of Home Affairs said that women of the erstwhile State were also discriminated against if they chose to marry a Non-Permanent Resident.

The Centre also submitted that Article 35 A had harmed the state and significantly contributed to the grave problems of terrorism, militancy and separatism which plague it. Adding that “inimical forces from across the border have exploited the situation”.

The Centre said that the overall economic development in the State has been severely hindered on account of these factors, and, as a result, the erstwhile State has failed to live up to its full development potential.

The government said that the Article not only affected the people but also the brave and dedicated members of the Armed Forces and the police forces, coming from different parts of the country, many of whom made the ultimate sacrifice in the course of the performance of their duties.