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7 Key Highlights of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019

 

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 is a legislation passed by the Indian parliament to restructure the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Indian-administered union territories (UTs) known as Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Download the Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganization) Act, 2019 Here :

This act came into effect on 31 October 2019.

The Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah, introduced a bill in the Rajya Sabha on 5 August 2019.

The measure was passed on the same day.

The Lok Sabha approved it on 6 August 2019, and it was given the president’s approval on 9 August 2019.

The legislation comprises 103 provisions, applies 106 federal laws to the Union Territories, revokes 153 state laws, and eliminates the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council, among other changes.

Prior to the introduction of the bill, a presidential order was issued that indirectly modified Article 370 of the Indian constitution and nullified the unique status of Jammu and Kashmir.

The act has also granted the central government the authority to issue certain executive orders pertaining to both the union territories.

These judgments have led to the alteration or annulment of more than 400 state and central laws pertaining to the union territories.

A series of petitions challenged the act in the Supreme Court.

On December 11, 2023, the court ruled that the statute and its associated orders were legal and constitutional.

Requesting the prompt reinstatement of Statehood. The legal controversy was concluded by a verdict from the Supreme Court of India in 2023.

Following the issuance of presidential directives and the implementation of the Reorganization Act, a state of security lockdown and communications blackout ensued.

Background of Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganization) Act, 2019

Article 370 of the Indian constitution granted Jammu and Kashmir a unique and privileged position.

7 Key Highlights of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 - The Hard News Daily

Unlike other states in India, Jammu and Kashmir possessed its own constitution and enjoyed a significantly greater level of administrative autonomy.

Specifically, those who are citizens of India but reside in states other than Jammu and Kashmir were prohibited from acquiring land or real estate in the region.

Jammu and Kashmir can be divided into three main regions.

  • The first is the Kashmir Valley, which has a population of almost 7 million people and is predominantly Muslim, with Muslims making up 95% of the population.
  • The second region is Jammu, which has a population of 5.35 million people and is mostly Hindu, with Hindus constituting 66% of the population. Jammu also has a Muslim population of 30%.
  • The third region is Ladakh, which has a small population of 287,000 people.
7 Key Highlights of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 - The Hard News Daily
Map of Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh

In Ladakh, Muslims make up the largest group at 46%, followed by Buddhists at 40% and Hindus at 12%.

Continued violence and turmoil persisted in the regions of India that are predominantly populated by Muslims.

This was exacerbated by an ongoing insurgency that emerged after a controversial state election in 1987, which was driven by demands for greater autonomy and rights.

In the 2014 Indian general election, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) gained power and in their 2019 election manifesto, they expressed their intention to revoke Article 370 of the Constitution of India.

Download BJP Election 2019 (English) Here –

Before the bill was introduced and the state’s special status was revoked, the central government implemented a lock-down in the Kashmir Valley.

This involved increasing the presence of security forces, enforcing Section 144 to prohibit gatherings, and placing political leaders like former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti under house arrest.

7 Key Highlights of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 - The Hard News Daily
Omar, Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti

Since 20 June 2018, the State has been under governor’s control and later president’s rule.

This occurred after the coalition government led by Mehbooba Mufti lost support from the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Prior to the deployment of an additional 35,000 paramilitary troops to Jammu and Kashmir, a warning was issued to annual Hindu pilgrims and tourists, alerting them to a potential terrorist threat.

The implementation of limitations encompassed the cessation of internet and telephone services.

The proactive actions occurred before the cancellation of the state’s unique status and the enactment of the Reorganization Act.

Statutory provisions

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act partitions the state under Indian administration into two union territories, namely Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

While Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislative assembly, Ladakh would be solely overseen by a lieutenant governor.

The union territory of Ladakh will comprise the districts of Leh and Kargil, while all remaining districts will be allocated to Jammu & Kashmir.

Out of the six Lok Sabha seats that were assigned to the former state, one will now be assigned to Ladakh and the remaining five will be assigned to the Jammu and Kashmir union territory.

The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir will serve as the High Court for both union territories.

According to Article 239A of the Indian constitution, the administration of Jammu and Kashmir would be governed by the act.

Article 239A, initially designed for the union territory of Puducherry, will also be extended to Jammu & Kashmir.

The president will appoint a lieutenant governor to oversee the administration of the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The legislative assembly of this region will consist of 107 to 114 members.

The legislative assembly has the authority to enact legislation on every subject on the state list, with the exception of “public order” and “police”, which are reserved as the jurisdiction of the central government.

The lieutenant governor will designate a council of ministers, which will consist of a chief minister and members of the legislative assembly.

The council’s main responsibility will be to provide advice to the lieutenant governor regarding subjects under the jurisdiction of the legislative assembly.

Regarding other issues, the lieutenant governor has the authority to act independently and is also able to issue ordinances that carry the same weight as laws passed by the legislature.

The legislation eliminates the Legislative Council of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The document consists of 103 provisions that expand upon 106 federal laws and 7 modified state laws, either partially or in their entirety, to apply to the two union territories.

The act also abolishes 153 state statutes and Governor’s Acts.

Implementation of Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganization) Act, 2019

The Reorganization Act, 2019 was enacted by the government of India, along with a presidential order C.O. 272 on 5 August 2019 and a presidential declaration C.O. 273 on 6 August 2019, with the support of a legislative majority.

These two orders collectively nullified the previously held privileged position of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

C.O. 272 and C.O. 273 are statutory resolutions.

Presidential order C.O. 272 and presidential proclamation C.O. 273 led to the indirect and whole alteration of Article 370, which served as the basis for the state’s unique status.

The ‘indirect’ amendment, made through C.O. 272 on 5 August 2019, pertains to modifications in Article 367.

This alteration resulted in the interpretation of all mentions of the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir in Article 370(3) as referring to the Legislative Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir.

Due to the imposition of President’s Rule, the authority of the Legislative Assembly was delegated to the Parliament of India.

Following the issuance of C.O. 272, the Upper House of the Indian parliament enacted a statutory resolution under Article 370(3) on the same day, approving the aforementioned action.

The statutory resolution proposed that the majority of Article 370 should no longer be in effect, with the exception of the provision stating that all articles and modifications of the Constitution of India would apply to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

On the following day, C.O. 273 implemented the advice of the Rajya Sabha. C.O. 272 has replaced the 1954 presidential order and resulted in the cancellation of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Article 35A of the Constitution of India.

Parliamentary voting

Amit Shah, the Minister of Home Affairs, tabled the bill in the Rajya Sabha on 5 August 2019.

7 Key Highlights of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 - The Hard News Daily
Amit Shah on the day when he moved Bills on J&K Reservation Act, J&K Reorganisation Act on Day 2 of Lok Sabha.

Opposition was observed when two members of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Democratic Party (PDP) deliberately tore up copies of the Indian constitution as a form of protest.

As a consequence, they were suspended from the House.

Additionally, 13 members of the All India Trinamool Congress left the House in protest, while 6 members of Janata Dal (United), which is allied with the ruling BJP, chose to abstain from voting.

The number 34 is enclosed in square brackets. Dravidian Progressive Federation, Nationalist Congress Party, Communist Party of India, and Communist Party of India (Marxist) also expressed opposition.

Nevertheless, the bill garnered the endorsement of Bahujan Samaj Party, YSR Congress Party, Telugu Desam Party, and the Aam Aadmi Party.

In addition to the 107 MPs comprising the ruling National Democratic Alliance, there were an additional 117 legislators who provided support.

The bill has garnered the endorsement of several independent and nominated MPs.

The bill was approved by the Rajya Sabha with a majority of 125 members in favor and 61 members against.

The bill was presented in the lower chamber of the Indian parliament, known as the Lok Sabha, on 6 August 2019.

The All India Trinamool Congress and Janata Dal (United) exited the chamber, while the Indian National Congress, Nationalist Congress Party, and Samajwadi Party voiced their opposition to the bill.

On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party, Shiv Sena, Biju Janata Dal, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Shiromani Akali Dal, Lok Janshakti Party, Bahujan Samaj Party, and other parties expressed their support for it.

The bill was approved by the house with a majority of 370 votes in favor and 70 votes against.

Approval and dissemination

The bill was approved by the president on 9 August 2019 and then published in The Gazette of India on the same date.

A notification issued on the same day stipulated that the union territories would be implemented starting from 31 October 2019.

The two union territories were established on 31 October 2019, coinciding with National Unity Day, which commemorates the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, a key figure in India’s political integration.

The president of India designated a lieutenant governor for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and a lieutenant governor for the Union Territory of Ladakh.

The number 49 is enclosed in square brackets.

On 31 October 2019, both lieutenant governors were inaugurated by Justice Gita Mittal, the chief justice of Jammu and Kashmir (and Ladakh) High Court.

The first inauguration took place in Leh, followed by another one in Srinagar.

The revocation of President’s rule occurred after the division and subsequent application to the union areas by the lieutenant governors.

Key points of Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganization) Act, 2019

The Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganization) Act, 2019, is a significant piece of legislation passed by the Government of India that led to major changes in the administrative and legal structure of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Here are the key points of the Act:

1. Bifurcation of the State:

The Act bifurcated the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir, with its own legislature, and Ladakh, without a legislature.

2. Abrogation of Article 370:

The Act effectively abrogated Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which granted special autonomy to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

This removal allowed all Indian laws to be applicable in the region, aligning it more closely with the rest of India.

3. Changes in Citizenship, Ownership, and Employment:

With the abrogation of Article 370, restrictions on the purchase of property, employment in state government jobs, and several state scholarships were removed for non-residents, opening up these opportunities to all Indian citizens.

4. Administrative Reorganization:

The Act provided for the administration of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to be managed by a Lieutenant Governor appointed by the President of India, whereas the Union Territory of Ladakh would be directly administered by the President through a Lieutenant Governor.

5. Legislative Powers:

The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir was granted a legislature with legislative powers similar to those of other Union Territories with legislatures, but with notable exceptions in matters of police, public order, and All India Services, which remain under the central government’s control.

6. Division of Assets and Liabilities:

The Act outlines the division of assets, liabilities, and employees between the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

7. Police, Public Order, and All India Services:

The control of the police, public order, and All India Services in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir remains with the central government, unlike other Union Territories with a legislature.

The Jammu and Kashmir (Reorganization) Act, 2019, represents a historic shift in the governance and integration of the Jammu and Kashmir region into India, with significant implications for its legal, social, and economic landscape.

References :

  1. https://www.indiacode.nic.in/handle/123456789/12030?sam_handle=123456789/1362
  2. https://igr.jk.gov.in/files/J&K%20Reorganisation%20Act,%202019.pdf
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jammu_and_Kashmir_Reorganisation_Act,_2019
  4. https://prsindia.org/billtrack/the-jammu-and-kashmir-reorganisation-bill-2019
  5. https://udhampur.dcourts.gov.in/document/the-jammu-and-kashmir-reorganisation-act-2019-pdf-1294-kb/
  6. https://unacademy.com/content/upsc/study-material/international-relations/the-jammu-and-kashmir-reorganisation-act-2019/
  7. https://ladakh.gov.in/document/the-jammu-and-kashmir-reorganisation-act-2019/
  8. https://www.livelaw.in/top-stories/winter-session-lok-sabha-jammu-and-kashmir-reservation-reorganisation-243865
  9. https://www.livelaw.in/know-the-law/deciphering-the-jammu-kashmir-reorganisation-act-2019-161208
  10. https://www.drishtiias.com/daily-updates/daily-news-analysis/jammu-and-kashmir-reservation-bill-and-j-k-reorganisation-amendment-bill-2023
  11. https://www.business-standard.com/india-news/hm-to-move-bills-on-j-k-reservation-act-reorganisation-act-on-day-2-of-ls-123120500127_1.html

 

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