Former MLC, and the son for former Sadre Riyasat Vikramaditya Singh has clarified his stand on Article 35A by speaking against the deferring of hearing of five PIL’s by the Supreme Court on August 6th.He said that although it is a complex constitutional matter to be ultimately decided by the Supreme Court, as a citizen of India and a state-subject of Jammu &Kashmir, he has the right to express concerns on how the use of Article 35A of the Constitution of India adversely effects the public, especially the women of the State.Vikramaditya said that the procedural issue of bringing about the law relating to the ordinance of 1954 by the then President of India that was not ratified by Parliament would be best left to the Judiciary and Supreme Court of India to decide along with the blatant violation of the right to equality, a fundamental right. Meanwhile he emphasized that it has been used as a discriminatory tool, particularly against the women of our State. He said that it is unacceptable that while men may marry a woman from any part of India, oversees or even Pakistan, the women of J&K do not have the right to choose their life partner. She risks losing her right to immovable property and inheritance should she marry a non-state subject.
Vikramaditya said that he was shocked and disappointed that public figures from Kashmir region who are the first to raise human rights violations failed to espouse women’s rights in the state and even publicly support this discriminatory practice. However, the former MLC added that while there is nothing wrong in having state-subject laws with special rights for the people of J&K, the same laws cannot and should not be used against the people of the state. He further advocated reform measures or amendments to the Article to check arbitrariness in such laws and prevent the state government from mis-using this tool.Vikramaditya also added that Article 35A at the same time also blocks all possible ‘outside’ investments in the State intourism, industry, real estate and agricultural sectors. Thus, restricting potential economic growth and employment opportunities. He said he strongly urges the people of the state to open their eyes and question the validity and pitfalls of Article 35A.Article 35A allows the Government of J&K to define the classes of persons who can be Permanent Residents of the state and furthermore, the article allows the state government to confer upon such permanent residents’ rights, privileges and restrictions. These include employment under the state government, acquisition of immovable property, settlement in the state, scholarships and other forms of aid. (CNS)