Article 35A of the Constitution of India: Notes for UPSC Indian Polity

Article 35A was an article under the Constitution of India that empowered the State Legislature of Jammu and Kashmir to define “permanent residents” of the state along with granting them special privileges. The article was revoked on August 5, 2019, through a Presidential order along with Article 370. 

This article will provide details of Article 35A within the context of the IAS Exam.

Background of Article 35A

Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state under the suzerainty of the British Empire. As such, the population of Jammu and Kashmir were not British colonial subjects but rather “state subjects”. 

The political movements gave rise to “hereditary state subject” as a political identity for the people of Jammu and Kashmir at the beginning of the 20th century. The people of the state demanded that only those of Kashmiri ethnicity be given jobs in the state government. Due to this growing popular demand, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir enacted a set of legal provisions in recognition of these special statuses between 1912 and 1932. The provisions granted state subjects the right to a government office, land ownership and usage. The provisions were not granted to non-state subjects.

When Jammu and Kashmir acceded to the Union of India on 26th October 1947, Hari Singh, the Maharaja of Kashmir, handed over control of the defence, external affairs and communications to the Government of India. Article 370 of the Constitution of India and the Constitutional order of 1950 cemented this relationship. 

To read in detail about October 26th, the day when the Instrument of Accession was signed by Maharaja Hari Singh of Jammu & Kashmir, candidates can visit the linked article.

Upon the adoption of the Delhi Agreement by the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir, the President of India issued the Constitution Order of 1954, extending citizenship rights to the residents of the state. It also inserted Article 35A into the Indian constitution that empowered the state legislature to define who were permanent residents and their subsequent privileges.

Given below are a few more links related to the Indian Constitution, articles and laws, important from the upcoming IAS and government exams perspective:

Who were ‘Permanent Residents’ as per Article 35A?

As per Article 35A, a permanent resident was anyone who was a state subject on 14 May 1954 or who has been a resident of the state for 10 years and had “lawfully acquired immovable property in the sate”. The state legislature of Jammu and Kashmir had the power to modify the definition of a permanent resident along with the applicable privileges through laws passed with a two-thirds majority. 

In addition, it also clearly defined which privileges could not be granted to non-permanent residents

  • A non-permanent resident cannot own property in Jammu and Kashmir
  • The same non-resident cannot obtain a state government job in Jammu and Kashmir
  • A non-permanent resident cannot join any educational institute run by the state of Jammu and Kashmir

UPSC 2021

Article 35A UPSC Notes:- Download PDF Here

Legal issues of Article 35A

Some of the legal aspects of Article 35A are highlighted below:

  1. It was pointed out by the opponents of Article 35A that it was not added to the Constitution of India through the amendment procedures as per Article 368. It was included under the Indian Constitution through an executive order by the President of India where such procedures could only be brought about through the legislative organ. Therefore Article 35A violated the Constitutional procedures established by law
  2. As per Article 368, any modification or changes can only be done through parliamentary procedures. Since the motion to add article 35A was not presented before the parliament and was directly brought to the President of India, the legality of Article 35A has always been debated.
  3. The classification under who is a permanent resident or not under Article 35A is in violation of Article 14 of the Constitution (Right to equality before the law). Any citizen of India, whether a permanent resident or non-permanent resident of Jammu and Kashmir, have the same rights and privileges as everyone else.

Current Status of Article 35A

On 5 August 2019, the Union Government revocated the special status granted to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 through a Presidential Order and made the entire Constitution of India applicable to the state. 

This implied that the Article 35A stood abolished. Further, the Parliament of India passed legislation reorganising the state into two union territories, one being Jammu and Kashmir, the other Ladakh.

Daily News 2021

Frequently Asked Questions on Article 35A

Q 1. How did Article 35A come into enforcement?

Ans. Article 35A was incorporated into the Constitution in 1954 by an order of the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet. It was added to the Constitution as a testimony of the special consideration the Indian government accorded to the ‘permanent residents’ of Jammu and Kashmir.

Q 2. What is Article 35A of Indian Constitution?

Ans. The Article empowers the State Legislature of Jammu and Kashmir to define “permanent residents” of the state along with granting them special privileges.

For more UPSC- related preparation articles and Indian polity-related articles, visit the links that are given in the table below. Candidates can get a general idea of the UPSC exam pattern by visiting the UPSC syllabus page

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