February 26 is an important day in India for two reasons.
One, the Supreme Court is going to have the hearing to challenge Article 35A. It is the article which provides of the Constitution empowers the J&K legislature to define the state’s ‘permanent residents’ and their special rights and privileges. It was added to the Constitution via a Presidential order in 1954 with the concurrence of the then J&K government.
The article is discriminatory in nature and can allow a Pakistani to settle in Kashmir, but not a non-Kashmiri India. In fact, a Kashmiri woman who marries a non-Kashmiri Indian also loses the right.
Here is Sushil Pandit explaining the context, history and the facts of Article 35A.
An NGO called “We the Citizens” has challenged the Article 35A.
This is coming up on February 26 and the hearing will be until February 28. This is already causing a lot of issues for those who have back Pakistan all these years. Mehbooba Mufti gave an open threat to India and Indians. She is warning Indians to not fiddle with an act which is inherently discriminatory. And look at her chutzpah and brazen-ness. If not for anything else, for just this, India should go ahead and finish off the article. No one should ever be allowed to threaten the entire nation in such a brazen way ever.
This is what is at stake this morning in India.
As the five-judge constitution bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer hears the challenge, one hopes that they remember that they will be making history. It is imperative that they make the right decision!
The other important case is that of Ram Janmabhoomi. We will discuss that in the next post.