More than 300 Lawyers from Jammu unanimously passed a Resolution for strengthening and retention of Article 35-A of the Constitution of India on Friday.The meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Senior Advocate and former President Bar Association Jammu A.V. Gupta at Justice Vinod Gupta Bar Hall, High Court, Jammu. The other prominent lawyers who expressed their views in favour of retention of Article 35-A were Muhammad Aslam Goni (Senior Advocate and Former Advocate General), S.C. Gupta (Former Sr. AAG), K.K. Pangotra (Former Assistant Solicitor General of India), Abdul Hamid Qazi (Former AAG), Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed, Pawan Kundal, Murtaza Khan (Ex-MLC), M.R. Qureshi (Ex-MLC), Ehsan Mirza (Former AAG), Shah Mohammad Choudhary, A.H. Bhat (Former Govt. Advocate).In his presidential remarks, senior advocate A.V. Gupta submitted that Late Maharaja Hari Singh had executed instrument of Accession with certain conditions which later came out in the shape of Article 35-A read with Article 370 of the Constitution of India. He further submitted if Article 35-A or Article 370 is deleted then accession of State of J&K with dominion of India gets shaky. Mr. A.V. Gupta further said that Article 35-A is beneficial for the permanent residents of J&K State and one of the examples he quoted is free education from Class 1st upto University Level.
Former Advocate General and Senior Advocate M.A. Goni according to news agency CNS lambasted the critics of Article 35-A and strongly expressed the need of creating mass awareness amongst the people of J&K State regarding the retention of Article 35-A. Goni quoted several Judgments of the Apex Court and State High Court and was of the view that petitions challenging Article 35-A are not maintainable and further said that there is a dire need for protecting the Unique Identity of J&K State.Former Sr. AAG S.C. Gupta submitted that those who are for scrapping of Article 35-A should first surrender their permanent resident certificates and then work in the State. Mr. S.C. Gupta further said that Jammu people must support their Kashmiri brethren on the issue of retention of Article 35-A as the State of J&K has its own identity and special status guaranteed under Article 370.Former ASGI K.K. Pangotra strongly advocated the retention of Article 35-A and further submitted that it is only Jammu people who will be adversely affected with the influx of huge population from other States of India as no one will settle in Kashmir Valley and only the resources of Jammu shall be exploited at the cost of Jammu people.Similar views according to CNS were expressed by Advocates A.H. Qazi (Former AAG), Murtaza Khan (Ex-MLC), M.R. Qureshi (Ex-MLC), Ehsan Mirza (Former AAG), Shah Mohammad Choudhary, Sarfaraz Hamid Rather, Mohd. Aslam Bhat, Ayaz Hamal, M.I. Sherkhan, Altaf Hussain Janjua, Sheikh Altaf Hussain, F.S. Butt, Mohd. Irfaan Khan, N.D. Qazi, Zulker Nain Sheikh, Ajaz Chowdhary, Mumtaz Choudhary, Javed Iqbal, Sheikh Ayaz Hussain, H.A. Farooqi, Wasim Akram, Kh. Mohd. Rashid, Sikander Hayat Khan, Zaheer Kamlak, Z.A. Mughal, Waseem Bukhari, Mohd. Ayaz Khan, Sarfaraz Bukhari.Advocate Supriya Chouhan while speaking for the retention of Article 35-A submitted that Article 35-A protects and saves the local laws of State of Jammu and Kashmir and also speaks about certain rights and privileges given to the Permanent Residents of J&K State. She had a dig on the critics of Article 35-A that the people who want scrapping of this Article should be ready to surrender the amenities and concessions being permanent residents of the State before demanding scrapping of this Article.
Similar views were expressed by Advocates Rupika and Monika Bhagat. Advocate Zahida Parveen also spoke on the occasion and strongly advocated the retention of Article 35-A.Former President Bar Association Doda Syed Asim Hashmi and Former President Bar Association Poonch Raja Mohammad Abbas Khan also spoke on the occasion and complimented the senior members of Jammu Bar for organizing a meet to discuss the Constitutional aspect of Article 35-A. Both of them extended full cooperation and support of Peer Panchal and Chenab Valley Lawyers and urged Jammu Lawyers to visit Muffasil Bars and entire Jammu Province for creating mass awareness regarding the retention of Article 35-A.Meanwhile number of Muffasil/District Bars also held interactions on the retention of Article 35-A and in this regard Advocate Haq Nawaz Mirza President Bar Association Rajouri strongly supported the retention of Article 35-A and similar were the views expressed by Advocate Yasir Janjua President Bar Association Surankote. Advocate Basharat Khan President Bar Association Mendhar expressed similar views alongwith Advocates Sarwar Chouhan and Akbar Janjua for the retention of Article 35-A.Advocate Ch. Nazir President Bar Association Budhal/ Koteranka (Rajouri) and Advocate Shaheen Ajaz President Bar Association Thanamandi also expressed similar views for the retention of Article 35-A.Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed conducted the proceedings of the meeting and thanked all the participants for enlightening the members of legal fraternity about the significance of Article 35-A and Article 370. (CNS)