(This explainer was first published on 14 August 2017 and is being reposted from The Quint’s archive in the backdrop of the escalating security situation in Kashmir.)
As Kashmir remains on edge following the suspension of the Amarnath Yatra, and many prominent leaders being placed under house arrest, speculation is rife on social media and select news portals that the abrogation of Article 35A could be on cards.
Article 35A of the Constitution protects any laws in Jammu & Kashmir relating to the definition and privileges of permanent residents from being challenged as discriminatory or unconstitutional.
As an example of these privileges, Jammu & Kashmir restricts anyone except permanent residents from acquiring immovable property. Article 35A grants the Legislative Assembly in the state the power to make such a restriction, and prevents a challenge against this on the basis that this is inconsistent with the laws that apply to other citizens of India.
This provision has been challenged in the Supreme Court in several petitions, which came up for hearings for the first time in August 2018.
Here’s what the cases are about, and why this issue is being used as a political tool in Jammu & Kashmir.