The Supreme Court on Monday deferred hearing on petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A, which allows Jammu and Kashmir government to identify “permanent residents” of the state and provide them with special rights and privileges, PTI reported. The court posted the matter for next hearing on August 6.

Four petitions – three clubbed with the main one filed by NGO We The Citizens – challenge Article 35A’s legality on the grounds that it was never presented before Parliament and was implemented on the president’s orders in 1954. Under the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954, the provision appears as an “appendix” in the Constitution and not an amendment.

The court’s decision came after the Centre urged the bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra to defer the hearing. Attorney General KK Venugopal told the bench that the Centre’s interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma was in talks with elected representatives of the state, political parties, different organisations and residents of the state to resolve the matter.

“This is a very sensitive matter…Our only prayer is that it may not be heard before three weeks as a solution is in the course of being devised…”, Venugopal told the Supreme Court, according to Live Law.

Appearing for one of the petitioners, lawyer Ranjit Kumar, said many students who cleared the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test were debarred from admission to government medical college in Jammu and Kashmir because of Article 35A. “It is also a sensitive issue, but it is also the matter of life of people who have been forced to leave,” Kumar said, according to The Indian Express.

Advocate Rakesh Dwivedi, appearing for the state government, referred to two previous judgements by the constitution bench of the Supreme Court and said the issues raised in the pleas were already covered by these verdicts.