Govt plans to enact new law to protect land rights of J&K natives

A new law to protect the land rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir is on the anvil to allay the apprehensions of the natives after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, officials said.

The new law is expected to be enacted in Parliament.

“Land rights for the locals in Jammu and Kashmir are coming up. Work is on for enacting a new law that will allay all fears of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” an official privy to the development said.

Once the legislation is passed by Parliament, the fear of losing rights over land will be over in Jammu and Kashmir, the official said.

A bill to this effect will be introduced in Parliament as there is no legislature in the newly created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir because no election was held since the bifurcation of the erstwhile state.

The fears of Jammu and Kashmir domicile people about the settlement of outsiders in the UT arose after the government abrogated Article 370 on August 5, 2019, which ended the exclusive rights of the locals over lands or immovable property and jobs.

On the same day, the government also bifurcated Jammu and Kashmir into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

In April, the Union Home Ministry had reversed its order on new domicile rules for Jammu and Kashmir within a week after the amendment triggered protests in the Valley.

Under the revised order, only domicile residents of the union territory will be eligible to apply for recruitment there.

The fresh order, issued on April 3, made government jobs in the Jammu and Kashmir administration out of bounds for non-residents.

Earlier, in the order issued on March 31, the home ministry had reserved jobs for domicile residents only in Group D and non-entry gazetted government posts.

This meant that people from any part of the country could apply for jobs in the higher categories.

Under the new definition of domicile for Jammu and Kashmir, a person residing there for at least 15 years will be eligible to be a permanent resident of the union territory.

The government notification also extended domicile rights to central government employees who have served in Jammu and Kashmir for 10 years and also to their children.

Before August 5, 2019, the Jammu and Kashmir assembly was constitutionally empowered to define a resident of the erstwhile state.

These defined residents alone were eligible to apply for jobs or own immovable property.

However, the home ministry amended a 2010 legislation – the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment Act) – on March 31 by substituting the term “permanent residents” with “domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir”.