A file containing legal opinion on Article 35-A has vanished from North Block’s high-security vaults at a time the provision faces a legal challenge to its constitutionality, said a report published by Telegraph on Sunday.
The report, quoting sources said: “The 1954 file contained the then attorney-general’s opinion justifying the insertion of Article 35-A into the Constitution that year through a presidential order rather than a constitutional amendment.”
Quoting a senior Union home ministry official, the report said, “Our employees are frantically searching for the file, which is crucial to the case as we have to convey our stand in the Supreme Court at the next hearing on August 29.”
As per the Telegraph report the 63-year-old legal file had disappeared from the ministry’s legal and administrative records section, perhaps during the ministry’s Swachh Bharat campaign between June 22 and 26 in 2015 when it weeded out hundreds of old files.
The report that was published on Sunday said: “It’s a procedural matter, and it’s up to the Supreme Court to decide. The attorney-general (K.K. Venugopal) is preparing the reply to be submitted before the court on August 29. He had recently asked for the 1954 file, which is when we realized that it had disappeared.”
The report adds the Center had already sought intelligence inputs on the possible fallout in Kashmir if the apex court revoked or amended the article, and been warned that it could trigger unrest.
The report further said that the Home ministry sources said the Center was unlikely to take any stand in the apex court on the issue.