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Weekly Current Affairs: April week-2 - Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (adaptation of state laws) order 2020

  • Category
    Governance
  • Published
    15th Apr, 2020

Eight months after the Centre revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, it has now notified ‘Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (adaptation of state laws) order 2020’ spelling out domicile of Jammu and Kashmir and who is eligible for employment in the region.

Context

Eight months after the Centre revoked Article 370 of the Indian constitution, it has now notified ‘Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (adaptation of state laws) order 2020’ spelling out domicile of Jammu and Kashmir and who is eligible for employment in the region.

Background:

  • On August 5, 2019, the Centre, amid siege, lockdown and arrests of nearly 8000 people, revoked the special status of J&K, which was guaranteed under Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution.
  • Under Article 370 Jammu and Kashmir had a separate constitution and Article 35A prohibited people from outside from buying property in Jammu and Kashmir and ensuring job reservation for residents.
  • Article 35A would empower the Government of J&K to define a class of persons as constituting “permanent residents” of the erstwhile State.
  • Also, it would allow the government to confer on these persons special rights and privileges with respect to matters of public employment and acquisition of immovable property in the State.
  • Annulled Article 35-A was included into the Constitution of India in 1954 by a presidential order made under Article 370 of the Constitution of India.

Analysis

What does the law say?

  • The domiciles under the order have been defined under Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment) Act.
  • Domiciles: Under the law, the domiciles have been defined as those who have resided for a period of 15 years in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir or have studied for a period of seven years and appeared in Class 10/12 examination in an educational institutions located in what is now a union territory.
    • It includes children of those central government officials, All India services officers, officials of public sector undertaking and autonomous body of central government, public sector banks, officials of statutory bodies, officials of central universities and recognized research institutes of central government who have served in Jammu and Kashmir for a total period of ten years.
  • Issuing authority: The law has empowered Tehsildars within their territorial jurisdiction to issue domicile certificates.
    • The government of J&K UT has also been empowered to notify any other officer to be Competent Authority for issuance of domicile certificate.
  • The law says any person fulfilling the conditions would be deemed to be domicile of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir for the purpose of appointment of any post carrying a pay scale of not more than level-4 (25500) under the UT of J&K or under local or any other (other than cantonment board) within the UT of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • According to the new law, jobs up to lowest level of non-gazetted rank are reserved for Jammu and Kashmir domiciles.
  • The provision, however, would be also available to children of central government employees serving in Jammu and Kashmir for ten years and all those non-locals residing in Jammu and Kashmir for more than 15 years.

The change:

  • Employment of people in Jammu and Kashmir was earlier defined under Article 35A. Its scrapping has led the Centre to immediately bring into effect new terms of eligibility for jobs for people in the region.
  • The Centre’s redefinition of a domicile marks a complete departure in norm that was earlier held in the erstwhile state, previously under Article 370 and Article 35A.
  • Prior to the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A, and its bifurcation into two Union territories, it was the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly that had the right to define a “resident" of the state.

109 laws amended, 29 repealed:

  • The Centre has repealed the J&K Civil Services (special provisions) Act. 
  • It has also introduced changes in Sections 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 13 of the J&K Civil Services (decentralisation and recruitment) Act, 2010.
  • The Act is among 109 laws of the erstwhile state that have been amended through Tuesday’s order that also repeals 29 other laws.
  • While Section 5A now states that no person shall be eligible for appointment to a post carrying a pay scale for not more than Level 4 “unless he is a domicile of UT of J&K”, in Sections 6, 7 and 8 the words “permanent resident of the State” have been substituted with “Domicile of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir”.
  • These sections of the J&K Civil Services Act, 2010, dealt with appointments at district, divisional and state levels.
  • The Section 13 of J&K Civil Services Act, 2010, which has been omitted completely, defined residence in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. 

The impact:

  • These two years will prove to be a very crucial transition period for Kashmir from being a state to now being a full-fledged Union territory.
  • As far as the future of the reorganization is concerned, it will take at least two years for the dust to settle because a division is not just geographic division of a state.
  • Laws will have to be changed, amendments will have to be made accordingly, administration will have to be restructured and governance will need to be overhauled, among other things.
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