Reorganization Of Jammu And Kashmir

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On 9th August, 2019, Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India gave his assent. It is 34th Act of 2019 and is in force since 31st October, 2019.[2] The Preamble of the Act states the aim of the Act as:

An Act to provide for the reorganization of the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto

For the Bifurcation of the State of J & K into two distinct UTs, a Bill was set in motion by Mr. Amit Shah, Home Minister on 5th August, 2019 which was passed with 125 votes in approval and 61 votes against the Bill and next day it was passed in the People’s House whereby the composition of votes was 370 in favour and 70 in opposing side.

To make the Act constitutionally valid the Central Government revoked Article 370 and 35A.[4] The Act contains 103 sections and 5 schedules.

Vital Provisions of the Act -:

  • Section 1 lays down the title of the Act as The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
  • Section 3 contains the provision for the formation of the Union territory of Ladakh without any legislative assembly and the territorial area comprises of two districts Leh and Kargil which ceases to be a part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir existed before the Act.
  • Section 4 states the provision for the establishment of the Union territory of J & K which includes the territorial area of the State of J & K existed before the Act except Leh and Kargil district.
  • Section 5 states that the common Lieutenant Governor of both newly recognised UTs will only be the Governor of the State of J & K exists immediately before the Act for a duration decided by the President.
  • Section 10 allocates six seats in People  House whereby five seats were apportioned to the UT of J & K and one to the UT of Ladakh.
  • Section 13 makes Article 239A applicable in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Article 239A lays down the provision for the creation of local Legislatures or Council of Ministers or both for certain Union Territory [10] which was initially inserted in the Constitution for the Union Territory of Puducherry.
  • Section 14 (1) states that the appointment of the Administrator of UT of J & K will be taken place as per Article 239 and designated to the post of Lieutenant Governor.
  • Section 14 (3) states that Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory will have 107 seats in total whereby the representation of the members will be ensured through direct election.
  • Section 14(4) States that from 107 seats 24 seats shall remained vacant the representative of which shall be elected by the people of PoK (Pakistan occupied Kashmir).
  • Section 14 (6) states that the reservation shall be ensured for SC and ST in Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir UT.
  • Section 14 (11) states that Article 324, 327 and 329 shall be applicable in a same manner as they are applicable to a state, Legislative Assembly of a state and members respectively.
  • Section 32 states that the Legislative Assembly of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have power to legislate laws with respect to the matters enumerated in the State List except for entries 1 and 2 of the State List and can also legislate laws for matters mentioned in the Concurrent List which are applicable for other UTs.
  • Section 33 lays down the provision which prevents levying of tax by UT of J & K on the property within its territory except to the property which was considered to be liable for tax immediately before the Constitution came into effect.
  • Section 34 makes Article 286, 287, 288 and 304 operational for J & K UT and clause 2 states that Article 304 will be applicable after necessary modification.
  • Section 35 makes the laws void to the extent of inconsistency with the laws made by the Parliament.
  • Section 47 states that Jammu and Kashmir UT may adopt any language/s which are in use in the Union or Hindi as the official language or languages to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the Union[21] and Clause 2 states that the businesses shall be transacted in the official language or Hindi or English.
  • Section 48 states that all Bills, Acts, Orders, Rules and Regulations, etc, shall be in English language until Parliament otherwise provides.
  • Section 53 states that there shall be a Council of Ministers consisting of not more than ten percent of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly.
  • Section 57 abolishes Legislative Council of State of Jammu and Kashmir existed immediately before the Act and ceases all the members of such Council. It also lapsed all the bills pending before the Council on its abolition.
  • Section 58 States that the administration of the Union Territory of Ladakh will be administered through Lieutenant Governor, will be nominated by the acting President u/A. 239 and the President may make regulations for the peace, progress and good government of the Union territory of Ladakh u/A. 240.
  • Section 60 lays down the provisions for delimitation of constituencies of J & K UT and also increases the seats of the Assembly from 107 to 114.
  • Section 75 states that the UT of Ladakh and J & K UT will have a single High Court.
  • Section 95 states that all the Central laws shall apply in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh in the manner as mentioned in Table 1 of Schedule 5 of the Act whereby a list is given listing 106 Central laws which shall be applicable in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh and Clause 2 states that all other laws in Fifth Schedule, applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir immediately before the Act came into force, shall apply in the manner as provided therein, to the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh.[29] There are three more tables in Fifth Schedule whereby Table 2 states 7 State laws which are applicable in both the UTs with amendments, Table 3 lays down 153 State Ordinances/Acts and 11 Governor’s Acts which shall be repealed and lastly, Table 4 enumerates 106 State laws which shall remain in force.
  • Section 102 states that the Act has the overriding effect over any other law.

Conclusion

The Act bifurcates J & K State into two different UTs as mentioned u/S. 3 and 4 of the Act. After the Act came into effect there is a common Lieutenant Governor of both the UTs, there are six seats allocated for both the UTs in the ratio of 5:1, a Legislative Assembly with the strength of 114 members has been established in the UT of J & K out of which 24 seats has been suspended for PoK region and UT of Ladakh has no Legislative Assembly. The Act has abolished the Legislative Council of the J & K state and ceases entire bills that were pending before the Council.

The Act has an overriding effect over any other law and there has been four tables given in Fifth Schedule which consists of the list of Central and the State laws which includes list of Laws applicable in both the UTs and list of laws which has been repealed and become ineffective.

Author: Aman Jain

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