Tuesday, December 18, 2018
 News Details
Art 35 A adjournment

By B L Saraf

The Supreme Court has adjourned hearing of the petitions challenging Article 35 A of the Constitution which empowers J&K Legislature to define its permanent residents and confer on them special rights and privileges. The adjournment came on the request of the Central Government which pleaded before the Court that it has appointed a representative to hold talks with all stake holders to resolve the Kashmir issue and it was not right time to proceed with the matter. The Attorney General told the Court ” We have appointed an Interlocutor . He has started talks with the stake holders. If court continues with the hearing, it might affect the ongoing dialogue process .”
Well, seeking an adjournment of a court proceeding is a routine affair and, normally, should not be a reason to initiate a debate – unless it affects the cause of justice delivery system, itself. It is a part of the business in the judicial affairs. However, given the nature of the case and hype created around it by some political players and the reason supplied for the adjournment the deferment of the case has something more than meets the eye. We can get a whiff of an inclination, on the part of GOI, that it would prefer placing fate of Article 35 A subservient to the better judgment of the interlocutor and, as a corollary, may not be against its retention on the statute book. Who, in turn, may get a hint as to how he should deal with the “stake holder” sitting across his table, in a bid to have some sort of resolution to the ticklish K issue. So a legal issue changes complexion to become a political one! Indeed a pleasant development. We have been arguing for some time now that courts seldom provide a forum to settle a matter which, essentially, falls in a political domain . In this regard, any issue related to the Article 35 A could be a case to point out.

It is good that Prime Minister Modi has chosen dialogue over the court battle. The adjournment has different meanings for the different people. Particularly, for those sitting on the extreme who seem to have been overtaken by the heavy dose of ‘ nationalism’ and for those flying high on the opposite end – dreaming about azadi and a religious rule . To the hyper -nationalist it signals that PM Modi will listen to their shrill ‘nationalistic’ rhetoric only up to the point and not beyond if it impinges up on the larger ( real) nation interest. For the separatist and fence sitters in Kashmir, it carries a message that PM can be accommodative to the extent, so long it does not affect the sovereignty and integrity of the Nation. It also signifies that for Narendra Modi commitment to safeguard special status of J&K, within the Indian Union, is second to none in the mainstream politics .

In this connection it could be said that, hopefully, things have started to move in a right direction . Dineshwar Sharma – the Center’s representative – has , while talking to a national daily in New Delhi , said about the stone pelting ” there is nothing like a stone pelter. The youngsters have moved away from the right path . Now it will be my job to talk to them and bring them on the right side .” Our prayer is : let good sense prevail upon the misguided !

Though hard to convince them, the separatists must understand that if they do not hold the olive branch extended by PM Modi – who enjoys a mass support across India and is endowed with a strong political will – they won’t get another chance and Kashmir would continue to bleed , should 2019 national election through up a different verdict. Because, in the alternative , we will be in for a misrule of a rag tag Coalition Government that is brought about by the desperate political dinosaurs, whose only purpose would be to perpetuate themselves by resorting to all kinds of manipulations . Survival instinct and an irresistible urge to milk the circumstances – to the hilt – will leave hardly any time for them to address the K problem. The decade long rule of the moribund UPA illustrates the point .

The ‘ major stake holders ‘ must understand that the politics is a science of good senses , applied to the ever changing public events . That demands of them to display what may be a wisdom today , rather wait for tomorrow when folly or ruin will haunt them. Same is true for those who adorn the treasury benches in J&K. Will they care to listen ; after all they are the politicians ? It is tragedy that most politicians today don’t deserve to be in the politics. They are as unable to examine the context as they lack capacity to think ahead.

All in all, the reason put forth for the adjournment is a well come development .It may clear the mist of doubt about the present status of J &K within the Indian Constitution . Here, PM has done something which to many among his own tribe is anathema. The move, undoubtedly, reveals a glimpse of statesman Narendra Modi, as opposite to that of an ordinary politician. J&K is different place in as much as here politics is inevitably ingrained in everything . If things have to settle down locally , keeping the cross -LOC dimension apart for a while, the contours of the national and local politics – vis -a – vis the state – must be renegotiated . In the mean time, let us pray that the case is adjourned sine-die .

(The author is a Former Principal District & Sessions Judge. Feedback- [email protected] )

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