Article 35A of Indian Constitution

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : May 17, 2022, 6:48

Article 35A of the Indian Constitution gave the State Legislature of Jammu and Kashmir the authority to define "permanent residents" of the state and provide them special protections. Article 35A, along with Article 370, was repealed by the Presidential decree on August 5, 2019.

Provisions of Article 35A of the Indian Constitution

"Besides laws governing permanent residents and their rights - Regardless of anything in the Constitution, no current legislation in the State of Jammu and Kashmir, and no law adopted by the State Legislature in the future -

  • describing the categories of people who are or will be permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir; or
  • giving particular rights and benefits on such permanent residents, or placing restrictions on others in this regard
    • employment with the State Government
    • ownership of the property and real estate in the State
    • residency in the State
    • right to fellowships and other kinds of assistance from the State Government

any provision of this section that is inconsistent with or takes away or abridges any rights granted to other citizens of India shall be invalid."

Definition of ‘Permanent Residents’ as Per Article 35A

  • According to Article 35A, a permanent resident was defined as someone who was a state subject on 14 May 1954 or had lived in the state for 10 years and had "lawfully acquired a rooted property in the state."
  • Through legislation approved with a two-thirds majority, the state legislature of Jammu and Kashmir had the right to change the definition of a permanent resident as well as the associated privileges.

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Adaptation of Article 35A

On the proposal of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet, President Rajendra Prasad signed an order incorporating Article 35A into the Constitution in 1954.

The disputed Constitution (Reference to Jammu and Kashmir) Order of 1954 followed the controversial Delhi Agreement of 1952 between Nehru and Jammu and Kashmir's then-Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah, which extended Indian citizenship to Jammu and Kashmir's "State subjects."

Article 370 (1) (d) of the Constitution was used to issue the Presidential Order. This clause permits the President to make "exceptions and changes" to the Constitution for the benefit of Jammu and Kashmir's "state subjects."

As a result, Article 35A was introduced to the Constitution as a testament to the Indian government's special attention to the 'permanent residents' of Jammu and Kashmir.

Revocation of the Article 35A

By Presidential Order dated 5 August 2019, the Union Government revoked the special status provided to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370, making the whole Indian Constitution applicable to the state.

This meant that Article 35A was no longer in effect. In addition, the Indian Parliament issued laws dividing the state into two union territories, one of which is Jammu and Kashmir and the other is Ladakh.

Article 35A, which was enacted about six decades ago, now needs to be reconsidered, especially because Jammu and Kashmir is a well-established democratic state. The people of Jammu and Kashmir need to be reassured that any change in the status quo would not take away their rights but rather increase the state's prosperity by allowing greater investment and creating new possibilities.

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FAQs on Article 35A

Q1. What is the meaning of Article 35A of the Indian Constitution?

Ans. Article 35A authorises the Jammu and Kashmir State Legislature to define "permanent residents" of the state and offer them specific rights.

Q2. How did Article 35A come into effect?

Ans. A decree signed by then-President Rajendra Prasad on the suggestion of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet in 1954 introduced Article 35A into the Constitution. It was inserted into the Constitution to demonstrate the Indian government's special attention to the 'permanent residents' of Jammu and Kashmir.

Q3. Which presidential order incorporated Article 35A into the constitution?

Ans. The Presidential order 1954 incorporated Article 35A into the constitution.

Q4. When was the revocation of Article 35A executed?

Ans. The revocation of Article 35A was executed on 5 August 2019