J&K Governor to ask Supreme Court to put off Article 35-A hearing


Srinagar ,Even as the Valley witnessed a total shutdown on Thursday over apprehensions that Article 35A of the Constitution may be tinkered with, Jammu & Kashmir’s new governor Satya Pal Malik said the state administration will file a plea in the Supreme Court seeking a deferral of the hearing into the contentious law.
In an interview to Hindustan Times, Malik — who is the administrative head of the state which has been under Governor’s Rule since the fall of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government in June — said the administration would tell the top court that the views of the state’s people can only be represented by an elected government.
The state administration has twice, on August 3, and August 29, written to the Supreme Court seeking a deferral, on both occasions citing the preparations for the forthcoming local elections.
“How can we take a decision? As we are not an elected government, we cannot speak on behalf of the people (in the court). Thus, we feel the decision should be deferred till there is an elected government here. Our stand is clear and we will soon make an appeal before the apex court (seeking a deferral),” Malik said in the interview.
He was appointed on August 21 to replace NN Vohra, and as a former member of Parliament, is seen as the first political appointment to the post since Karan Singh between 1965 and 1967.
Malik’s statement comes at a time when the state continues to be roiled by protests related to the court’s hearing of the article of the Constitution that restricts property ownership and government jobs to permanent residents of Jammu & Kashmir. The fear is that Article 35A could be scrapped after the legal challenge in the apex court.
The Supreme Court is to hear the case on Friday. On Thursday, shops, businesses, and schools and colleges in the state were closed, and roads bore a deserted look with few venturing out. Even