The Article 35A of the Indian constitution empowers Jammu Kashmir legislature to define state’s “permanent residents” and their special rights and privileges.
It was added to the constitution through a presidential order of 1954.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO JAMMU KASHMIR?
Through 1927 and 1932 notifications,the Dogra ruler, Hari Singh imposed a law that defined state subjects and their rights. The law also regulated migrants to the state.
In 1949 Sheikh Abdullah negotiated Jammu Kashmir’s political relationship with New Delhi, which led to the inclusion of Article 370 in the Constitution.
Article 370 guarantees special status to J&K,restricting Union’s legislative powers over three areas: defence, foreign affairs and communications.
However, under the 1952 Delhi Agreement between Abdullah and Nehru, several provisions of the Constitution were extended to Jammu Kashmir via presidential order in 1954. Article 35A was inserted then.
Jammu kashmir Constitution was framed in 1956. It retained Maharaja’s definition of permanent residents: All persons born or settled within the state before 1911 or after having lawfully acquired immovable property resident in the state for not less than ten years prior to that date. All emigrants from Jammu and Kashmir, including those who migrated to Pakistan, are considered state subjects. The descendants of emigrants are considered state subjects for two generations.
Permanent residents law prohibits non-permanent residents from permanent settlement in the state, acquiring immovable property, govt jobs, scholarships and aid.
WHY THE ISSUE?
“We the Citizens,” an NGO challenged 35A in the Indian Supreme Court in 2014.
In another case in SC last month, two Kashmiri women argued that the state’s laws, flowing from 35A, had disenfranchised their children.
WHY ARE SEPARATISTS GIVING HARTAL CALL?
They Fear that it would lead to further erosion of Jammu Kashmir’s autonomy and trigger demographic change in Muslim majority valley.