New Delhi: There are indications that the Supreme Court may soon start hearing the challenge to Article 370 and Article 35A, which give special status to Kashmir. The two put together ensure special priviledges for those restrictively defined as ‘permanent residents’ of Jammu and Kashmir. These two also deny Fundamental Rights to a large number of dalits,west Pakistan refugees and women who marry outside the state and make it impossible for people from rest of India to buy property there.

On Monday, BJP leader and Supreme Court advocate Ashwini Upadhyay asked the apex court to speedily hear the petitions challenging the two articles of the Constitution. Upadhyay argued that it is an extremely serious matter and should be heard on priority.

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Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi told the senior lawyer that the court would look into it, but that a date had not been fixed yet.

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On January 22 the SC had said it would take an “in-chamber” decision on listing of a petition challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A, which provides special rights and privileges to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir.

Advocate Bimal Roy had mentioned the matter before the bench headed by CJI Gogoi and also comprising Justices L Nageswara Rao and Sanjiv Khanna. The CJI assured the petitioner that the date for hearing the case would be fixed soon. 

Also read: Supreme Court to take 'in chamber' decision on plea challenging Article 35A

The petitions filed in the SC state that because of Article 35A, Indians outside Jammu and Kashmir were not entitled to buy real estate and vote in the state. Also, the women of Jammu and Kashmir lose their rights in the state if they marrya person from outside. Even their children do not get permanent resident certificates (PRC).

Also read: Article 35A : The real devil in Kashmir

Earlier, the then CJI had postponed the hearing of the three-judge bench headed by Deepak Mishra till January 19. In the previous hearing, the Supreme Court had said that it would consider whether Article 35A violates the Constitution's basic structure.

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The apex court had adjourned the hearing in August 2018 on a batch of petitions challenging Article 35 A till January this year, after taking note of submissions of the Centre and the state government that there was a law and order problem in the state.