Article 35A: Hearing deferred in SC; to resume from August 27

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday refused to hear the challenge to Article 35A in the absence of a judge of a three-judge bench that was hearing the case and directed the next hearing on August 27.
It also said that on its next hearing it will decide whether the matter should be referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench.
As some lawyers insisted on the hearing, a bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar said as the matter was being heard by a three-judge bench also comprising of Justice D Y Chandrachud, and since the later was not available, it could not be heard.
“Article 35A is in vogue for the last 60 years and we will only see whether it is violative of the basic structure of the constitution,” said Chief Justice Misra as he refused the plea for an early hearing.
The Jammu and Kashmir government has already sought adjournment citing panchayat and urban bodies election scheduled in September.
Attorney General K K Venugopal told the court that with elections to 6,000 Panchayats to be held in September, “it was not an opportune time to hold the hearing”.
Venugopal also told the court that the interlocutors were also talking to the state government.
As the court directed the listing of the matter from the week starting August 27, Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Jammu and Kashmir said: “We reserve the right to seek adjournment on the grounds cited in the letter to the court.”
Meanwhile, life across the Kashmir Valley remained adversely affected for the second consecutive day due to a separatist-called protest shutdown on Monday.
Separatist conglomerate, Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) has called for the protest shutdown to voice support for Article 35A.
Shops, markets, public transport, other businesses and educational institutions remained closed here and other district headquarters of the valley.
Very few private vehicles were seen moving on city roads here and elsewhere in the valley.
Authorities placed senior separatist leaders, Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Mirwaiz Umer Farooq under house arrest.
Although Yasin Malik, chairman of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), has evaded arrest by going underground.
Authorities suspended the Amarnath Yatra from Jammu to Srinagar for the second day on Monday because of the shutdown.
An official, however, said pilgrims who have already reached the Baltal and Pahalgam base camps will continue to perform the Yatra on Monday.
Rail services between the valley and the Bannihal town of Jammu region also remained suspended for the second day.
Although heavy deployments of police and paramilitary forces have been made in Srinagar and other sensitive areas yet no restrictions were imposed anywhere. — IANS