The group said: “Challenge to constitutional validity of Article 35 A Constitution of India is a matter of grave concern to the people of Jammu and Kashmir”.

Srinagar, July 27:

Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC), Jammu and Kashmir, on Thursday appealed Governor NN Vohra to get discussion regarding article 35(A) in the Supreme Court deferred, till the time democratically elected government is not elected in the state.

In a statement issued here, the group said: “We the members of GCC accordingly request the Honble Governor to ask the Advocate General and others representing the state before the Hon’ble Court to get the matter deferred till the democratically elected government is in place and in a position to put forth its stand on the issue”.

The group said: “Challenge to constitutional validity of Article 35 A Constitution of India is a matter of grave concern to the people of Jammu and Kashmir”.

It said article 35 A has nature of “protective cover insulating the sovereignty enjoyed by the State of Jammu and Kashmir under the constitutional mechanism governing its relations with the Union of India”.

The group said that the legislative power of the state legislature to define the classes of persons who are, or shall be permanent residents of the state or conferring on such permanent residents any special rights and privileges or imposing upon other persons any restrictions as regards employment under the Act, acquisition of immovable property in the state, settlement in the state or right to different forms of aid undoubtedly are attributes of state sovereignty and a Constitutional provision.

“Safeguarding it is of vital interest to people across the state. Group of Concerned Citizens (GCC) is of the firm opinion that Article 35 A is constitutionally valid provision and Its application to the State by The Constitution ( Application To Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 falls within the Presidential powers delineated in Article 370 of the Constitution of India. GCC is confident that in view of clear constitutional position and case law on the subject, challenge to the constitutional validity of Article 35 A is destined to fail,” the group said.

However, the group said Jammu and Kashmir government being an important stakeholder is to strenuously put forward its stand in support of the constitutional provision before Supreme Court.

“GCC believes that as the matter relates to the sovereignty of the state and therefore people of Jammu and Kashmir, it should be left to the elected government to articulate the state government’s viewpoint that obviously is to reflect the public sentiment pertaining to the issue,” the group said.

The group also appealed all civil society groups to initiate wider discussion on the issue and develop a strategy on the sovereignty of Jammu and Kashmir.

GCC (Group of Concerned Citizens), Jammu and Kashmir, which came into being in September, 2016, at the height of killings, blindings and maiming of people in Kashmir, is a civil society group comprising people from a cross section of society from all the communities and all the three regions of the State, including jurists, former civil servants academicians, journalists, businessmen and  social activists.

The signatories include:

Jus (Rtd) Shabir Hasnain,

Mohammad Shafi Pandit, former Chairman J&K PSC

Ghulam Rasool Sufi, former Chief Information Commissioner

Abdul Wahid Qureshi, former Vice Chancellor,

GH Kango, former Principal Chief Conservator of Forests,

Anuradha Bhasin, Head of Kashmir Times

Nusrat Andrabi

Krishan Lal Kaul, Businessman

Masood Ahmad Shah, businessman

Prof Nissar Ali, Academician

Abdul Rashid Khan, Former IGP

Rafiq Masoodi, Former DDG Prasar Bharti

Masood Hussain, Artist

Feroze Ahmad, Former Census Commissioner from Ladakh

Krishi Pandit

Courtesy: Greater Kashmir