The Supreme Court has adjourned the hearing of case for petitions challenging Article 35A of the Constitution of India that upholds the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by prohibiting outsiders from buying immovable property in the state.

Article 35A of the Constitution of India covers a law that grants the state of Jammu and Kashmir, a special status and prohibits any non-Kashmiri individual from buying immovable land or property in the state. The special provisions were made for Kashmir during formation of the Constitution citing the status of the state. However, in 2014, an NGO named “We the Citizens”, challenged 35A in the Supreme Court on the ground that the provisions needs to be re-examined by the constitutional bench to check if Article 35A violates the basic structure of Constitution of India.

Fast-forwarding the matter to May this year, the Supreme Court deferred hearing on the petitions challenging Article 35A, but was urged by the Centre to not pass any interim order as the matter was “very sensitive”. Upon receiving the appeal, the Supreme Court had held a hearing today, on petitions that are challenging the validity of Article 35A. Ahead of the hearing in the Supreme Court, the state of Jammu and Kashmir called for a complete shutdown and curfew fearing the repeal of the special status that protects Kashmir from becoming a commercial property market.

However, the Supreme Court adjourned the hearing of Article 35A and scheduled it for a later date in the end of the month – August 27th. The hearing date was postponed as Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra and Justice A M Khanwilkar said that a three-judge constitutional bench was required to see whether his matter is required to be referred to a five-judge bench. And since Justice D Y Chandrachud who was to be part of the bench was absent today, the date was postponed. Also, both the Centre and Kashmir government had sought delay of the hearing as the Panchayat elections are underway and the hearing might disrupt law and order in the state.

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