The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019

The 2019 Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act is an act of the Parliament of India that includes provisions to reconstitute the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir, a part of the larger area of Kashmir that has been the subject of disputes between India, Pakistan and China since 1947, On 31 October 2019, two union territories governed by India, renamed Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. On August 5, 2019, a bill for the act was introduced by Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah in the Rajya Sabha, and approved on the same day. It was then passed on 6 August 2019 by the Lok Sabha, and on 9 August 2019 it received the assent of the President.

Provided for in article 370 of the Indian Constitution, the introduction of the bill was preceded by a presidential order revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

 

The Past

Article 370 of the Indian Constitution provided special status on Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir had their own constitution and administrative autonomy, in contrast to other Indian states. Indian citizens from other states in particular, were unable to buy land or property in Jammu and Kashmir.

Violence and unrest persisted in the Muslim majority areas administered by the Indians, and an insurgency persisted in protest over autonomy and rights following a disputed state election in 1987. In the 2014 Indian general election the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power and included the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India in their 2019 election manifesto.

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Before the bill was passed and the special status of the state was revoked, the central government shut down the Kashmir Valley, with an rise in security forces, the introduction of Section 144 prohibiting assembly, and the putting under house arrest of political leaders such as former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti. 35,000 paramilitary troops were deployed to the Indian-administered Kashmir ahead of which an annual alert was given to Hindu pilgrims and tourists citing terror threats and possible militant attacks. Restrictions imposed included the blocking of internet and telephone services. The moves were followed by the revocation of the special status of the State without the consent of the state legislature, which had ceased to exist because of the presidential rule in the State. Many of the Kashmiris affected by that decision are subject to a communication blackout imposed by the ongoing security lockdown.

 

 

Assembly seats in the Jammu and Kashmir:

The Reorganisation Bill , 2019 provides for the total number of 107 seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly. Of those 107 seats, 24 will remain vacant because those seats are in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK), which Pakistan illegally occupies.

After the abolition of article 370; those seats will be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in accordance to their population in the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory.On top of that; if they are not sufficiently represented, the Lieutenant Governor can appoint two women representatives.

The Legislative Assembly would have five-year terms instead of six years ago.

 

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The Power of Governor

The President will govern the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, through an administrator appointed by him. Just like New Delhi Union Territory, the administrator will be known as the Lieutenant Governor.

The President will also govern the Union Territory of Ladakh, on the other hand, through a Lieutenant-Governor appointed by him.

The Legislative Assembly can enact laws for any part of the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory. These laws are:-

(a) Any matters specified in the State List of the Constitution, except “Police” and “Public Order”, and

 

(b) Any matter in the Concurrent List applicable to Union Territories.

 

Further, Parliament will have the power to make laws in relation to any matter for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir like the other UTs of India.

 

Council of Ministers:

The Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory will have a council of Ministers to assist and advise the Lieutenant Governor. The size of the Minister ‘s council will not be more than 10 per cent of the Assembly ‘s total number of members.

The Chief Minister will communicate all Council decisions to the Lieutenant Governor, as the Delhi and Puducherry Chief Minister do.

 

Common High Court in the UTs:

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court will be the regular high court for the Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh territories of the Union. Besides this, there will be an Advocate General to offer legal advice to the J&K Union Territory government.

Now that article 370 has been abolished; there are 153 Jammu and Kashmir state laws that have also been abrogated. It involves extending land lease bans to people who are not permanent Jammu and Kashmir residents. Now 106 central list laws will apply to Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territories on a date approved by the central government. These new laws will be; Right to Education Act, 2009, Right to Information Act, 2005, Indian Penal Code 1860, Aadhaar Act, 2016.

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Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Order (2020)

The central government posted this on their latest Gazette on 31 March, 2020. Previously, Article 370 only reserved land and employment for ‘permanent residents,’ whose definition was changed to domiciles by authorizing the new order.

Under this new law, any person or child of a parent who has stayed for at least 15 years in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir or who has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10 or 12 examination in an educational institution located in the territory will be qualified to become a permanent resident. In addition, central government officials who have worked in the area for at least 10 years will also be granted domicile status along with their children. A migrant registered by the Union Territory’s Commissioner for Relief and Rehabilitation will also be eligible for domicile.

 

Conclusion

The Bill reasons that a separate UT for Jammu and Kashmir is being established in view of the prevailing internal security situation, fuelled by cross-border terrorism in the current state of Jammu and Kashmir. This is with the legislature.

 

As for Ladakh, it says people of Ladakh have been demanding for a long time to give them the status of UT to “realize their aspirations.”

 

Author: AVI SHRIVASTAVA,
Jagran Lakecity University, Bhopal 1st Year

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