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Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019

From 31st Oct 2019, This Act came into force with full effect along with a new reconstruction of the state J&K divided into two Union Territories

(1) Jammu and Kashmir and

(2) Ladakh.

Where UT J&K is permitted to have a Legislative Assembly but Ladakh.

Again, Ladakh is granted to have Kargil, Leh and the remaining territories are handed over to the Union Territories J&K.

This Bill comprises 103 Clauses, by amendment of some relevant central or state laws (i.e106 central and 7 state laws) also by repealing 153 state laws and Governor’s Acts.

From the appointed day, the Governor of the existing state of J&K shall be appointed as the Lieutenant Governor for both the UTs till the tenure is determined by the President of India.

History

Since 1947 post Independence there has been a dispute regarding a part of the Indian Administered State J&K a Larger Region between India, Pakistan and China to acquire.

By Forming this Act, 2019 it is made to reconstitute the region into Two Union Territories.

One of them is now UT J&K and the other one is UT Ladakh. This Bill was introduced by the Home Minister Shri Amit Shah in the Rajya Sabha on 6th Aug 2019 and it received the assent of the President on 09 Aug 2019.

What the Bill provides and what are the changes made in it?

There are several changes have been made in the existing Indian Constitution Act and various sections are taken into the Bill to make the Act more strengthened and effective.

The Act mainly focuses upon the following Sections such as:-

a. Legislative Assembly and the House of People

  • Construction and Abolishment
  • Conditions of electing members
  • Power and Duties of L.A

b. Chief Minister

c. Lieutenant Governor

d. Selection Commission

e. High Court

Legislative Assembly

Section 2 (g) defines the Legislative Assembly as an assembly established for the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

From the appointed day there shall be allocated 5 seats to the House of People out of which 4 will be for J&K and 1 for Ladakh. According to section 11 Delimitation of Parliamentary Constituencies Order 1976has been amended for J&K and the conduct of election to the house of people by the election commission shall be done as per the specification amended in the 1976 order under this Act according to section 11.

As per section 14(4) of this Act, 24 seats shall remain vacant in the house of the Legislative Assembly and shall not be considered as the total membership of the assembly until the areas of the UT of J&K under the occupation of Pakistan ceases to be so occupied. And subsection (7) of 14 prescribes about the seats to be reserved for the SC and ST in the house of People, which will be decided upon the same proportion to the total number of seats in the Assembly as the population of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, in respect of which seats are so reserved, bears to the total population of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

  • The Lieutenant Governor of the successor U.T J&K can elect 2 members to the L.A to represent the women in the Assembly.
  • Tenure of this House is 5 years unless dissolved earlier. In case of Emergency declared it shall run for 1 year and it cannot exceed for more than 6 months.
  • The meeting of the Legislative Assembly is summoned by the Lieutenant Governor.
  • The House chooses its Speaker and Deputy Speaker on its own and lays down the condition to cease the office for them respectively.

Any decision taken in the Legislative Assembly is based upon the majority of votes of the members present and voting but not of the speaker, the vote of the Speaker is required only when a case of an equality of votes arises.

Section 30 says, there shall be freedom of speech in the House of Legislative Assembly, and no person shall be liable for everything said or vote given by him in respect of the publication by or under the authority of such assembly.

Section 36, explains when a Bill or amendment cannot be introduced in the Assembly without the recommendation of Lieutenant Governor as under when a Bill is on the stage of

  • Imposition, abolition, remission, alteration or regulation of any tax.
  • The amendment of the law with respect to any financial obligations undertaken or to be undertaken by the Government of the Union territory.
  • The appropriation of money out of the Consolidated Fund of the Union territory.
  • The declaration of any expenditure to be expenditure charged on the Consolidated Fund of the Union territory or the increase of the amount of any such expenditure.
  • The receipt of money on account of the Consolidated Fund of the Union territory or the public account of the Union territory or the custody or issue of such money or the audit of the account of the Union territory.

Lieutenant Governor 

“Lieutenant Governor” means the Administrator of the Union territory appointed by the President under article 239 of the Indian Constitution. On and from the appointed day, the Governor of the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be the Lieutenant Governor for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and of Ladakh for such period as may be determined by the President. And the Lieutenant Governor has the power to Prorogue and Dissolve the House when he thinks fit. The Legislative Assembly can be summoned by the Lieutenant Governor especially also by addressing the causes of summoning.

Section 53 Says,

The Lieutenant Governor shall, in the exercise of his functions, act in his discretion in a matter:

(i) Which falls outside the purview of the powers conferred on the Legislative Assembly; or

(ii) In which he is required by or under any law to act in his discretion or to exercise any judicial functions.

(iii) Related to All India Services and Anti-Corruption Bureau.

Section 55 provides,

The Lieutenant Governor shall make rules on the advice of the Council of Ministers—

(i) for the allocation of business to the Ministers, and

(ii) for the more convenient transaction of business with the Ministers including the procedure to be adopted in case of a difference of opinion between the Lieutenant Governor and the Council of Ministers or a Minister.

Again Section 58 explains the provisions for the UT Ladakh, as under

  • Under Article 239 a Lieutenant Governor shall be appointed in the said UT will be administered by the President until when he thinks fit.
  • The President may make regulations for the peace, progress and good government of the Union territory of Ladakh under article 240 of the Constitution of India.
  • The Lieutenant Governor shall be assisted by the advisor(s) to be appointed by the Central Government.

Chief Minister (Section 54 & 56)

In this Act, 2019 Section 54 and 56 explains the appointment of Chief Minister and other ministers of the council to the Legislative Assembly in the UT J&K as under.

The CM is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of the UT and the other ministers are also appointed by the L.G but on the advice of C.M. The council of ministers collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly as they hold the office during the pleasure of the Lieutenant Governor. Before entering into the office the Lieutenant Governor administers every minister oaths of office and of secrecy according to the Fourth schedule again who remains absent for six consecutive months shall cease to be a member or minister of Legislative Assembly at the expiration of that period. The salaries and allowance are set to be determined by the Legislative Assembly and until the Legislative Assembly so determines, shall be determined by the Lieutenant Governor.

Selection Commission (Section 60 & 61)

“Election Commission” means the Election Commission appointed by the President under article 324 of the Constitution of India.

Section 60 describes the power and duties the Selection commission renders as under,

It can increase the number of seats from 107 to 114 and delimitation of the constituencies can also be done by the Selection Commission in the manner provided below-

  • The seats to be reserved for SC and ST in the Legislative Assembly.
  • The adjustment of boundaries and description of the extent of the parliamentary constituencies in each Union territory that may be necessary or expedient.
  • For the assembly constituencies of the UTs in case divided the commission can change the number of seats reserved for SC and ST accordingly with regard to the following provisions, such as –
  • All the constituencies shall be single-member constituencies.
  • All the constituencies shall be geographically compact.
  • Constituencies in which seats are reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes shall, as far as practicable, be located in areas where the proportion of their population to the total population is the largest.

Further, it says the Selection Commission to assist itself in the performance of its function selects 4 members from Legislative Assembly and 4 Members from House of the People of the U.T J&K as prescribed by the Central Govt. of India but none of them is allowed to sign or vote any decision of the Election Commission.

Section 61 says, that the Election Commission, may by notification 

  • Correct any printing mistakes in any order made under section 60 or any error arising therein from inadvertent slip or omission; and
  • Also, it can amend in case of any changes required to be made of any name or boundaries of any territory when it feels necessary or expedient.

High Court (Section75 to 78)

The High Court of the existed state J&K shall be the common HC for both the Union Territories J&K and Ladakh. So are the Judges of it shall be the Judges of the Common High Court. And the allowances & Salaries of the Judges determined on the basis of population ratio of both the territories as these expenditures are allocated to the same.

Conclusion

After the amendment of the first schedule in the Indian Constitution, there are several changes brought into abolishment as well as amendment such as,-

  • Entry 15 is deleted from the first schedule.
  • Another point inserted under the heading “The Union Territories” entries regarding the new formation of the UTs J&K and Ladakh.

According to section 79, the Lieutenant Governor shall appoint a person who is qualified to be appointed as a judge of HC to be an Advocate-General for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Which Criminal Code is applicable in J&K Pre and Post Reorganisation Act, 2019?

Before the Reorganisation Act due to the Article 370, the Criminal Code applicable in Jammu and Kashmir was Ranbir Penal Code, which later changed when the bill passed to scrap the provisions of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and imposed all the Central Acts including IPC and Cr.Pc under section 96 in the UTs.

2. Along with Article 370 is there any other Article of the Indian Constitution Act that has been scrapped with respect for J&K?

Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution has also been removed by the ruling Party along with Article 370. Article 35-A used to prescribe in the constitution of India ‘who are the permanent residents of the State and confer on them special rights and privileges in public sector jobs, acquisition of property in the State, scholarship, and public aid.

Edited by Shikhar Shrivastava

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

By Tulsi Rajeswari Sahoo

Tulsi Rajeswari Sahoo, BA.LLB Graduate in 2018 fro Utkal University Law College, Odisha. Former Compliance Associate manager at Eminent India Pvt.Ltd,New Delhi. Possessing Keen Interest in Legal Writing and Drafting