Ace businessman Sanjay Dalmia has shown full support to the argument brought forward by Charu Wali Khanna, and has called Article 35A ‘discriminatory’. SC advocate Khanna, who has challenged the validity of Article 35A, brought up the case of Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar and daughter Sarah. Khanna, a Kashmiri Pandit, through her lawyer Bimal Roy, had questioned why she had no right to property just because she had married outside the state and settled in Delhi.
Article 35A allows the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to define the list of “permanent residents” of the state, who are eligible to vote, work for the state government, own land, secure, public employment and college admissions, etc. Non-permanent residents are denied all these rights.
Echoing the concern raised by Charu Wali Khanna, Sanjay Dalmia said, “Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar (National Conference leaders) are married to non-Kashmiris. The father and son not only retain their permanent resident status, but their wives get a right to property too. At the same time, Sarah Abdullah, the daughter of Farooq Abdullah, who is married to Congress Leader Sachin Pilot, loses her permanent resident status and right to property too. If this is not gender inequality, I don’t know what is.”
Article 35A was added to the Constitution by a Presidential Order in 1954. Critics have panned the manner of its enactment, without any discussion in Parliament. Sanjay Dalmia has been quite vocal about the scrapping of Article 35A previously. In his recent statement, he said, “It should be acknowledged that the Indian government has nothing to do with it. Khanna is a Kashmiri woman, and she has every right to approach the Supreme Court to raise it as a discriminatory affair.”
Sanjay Dalmia believes that the issue should not be politicized, and should rather be treated with rationality. “If Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah are so agitated over 35A, why don’t they do anything to change the law, wherein men and women in Kashmir have similar rights?” he said.
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