Domicile Law

Prof. A N Sadhu
The issuance of Domicile notification has stirred a serious controversy among the residents of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir. The lockdown has made the document inaccessible for one or the other constraint, because normal life and working are both seriously disrupted. Whatever little material is available on the subject is sketchy and individualistic interpretations of the people, in general and media person in particular. The new Domicile Law is very important as it touches every person hailing from the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir, in linage with his ancestry, notwithstanding his present place of residents in other parts of the country or across the globe. The domicile law is supposed to correct demographic distortions with respect to people, who migrated to places outside Jammu & Kashmir in search of and assured livelihood. These people along with those displaced with 1990 constitute the ab-origins of the newly created UT of Jammu & Kashmir and are undisputed domiciles, without any confusion or contradiction.
Drawing final conclusion may be premature, as the law is reportedly under review and has not come under larger public scrutiny. However, while summarily looking at the media reports, social media comments and some isolated write-ups, 3 things come in mind:
* The Notification has not been carefully drafted. The investment of time and thought, both have been scanty and the approach seems to have been very casual. The residents of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, as defined in 1927 proclamation of Maharaja, continue to be the Natural Domicile’s of the newly created UT. Obviously the state subject certificate (PRC) holders are the domiciles of the UT and should not be required to obtain the Domicile Certificate (DC). The PRC should be taken as a substitute for DC. The wards of PRC holders should be issued a DC, on production of PRC of their parents or grandparents. There should be absolutely no additional conditions for them to claim a DC. KP’s have been shifting out right from 1947, even earlier in search of livelihood as they faced discrimination at the hands of political and administrative machinery. That they have not been living continuously In J&K or their children have not done their schooling in J&K, should not debar them from DC of UT. It will have disastrous implications and let the powers that be, give proper thought to it before adequately amending the Domicile Law.
* The historical backgrounds has not been borne in mind while conceptualising the New Domicile status. Historically it was the dire need of the residents of J&K state to seek reservations in the jobs because of economic backwardness. Being a relatively less privileged society, educationally and socially the people did not have access to jobs in rest of the country. The PRC came into existence to improve the lot of the locals. The benefits accrued to the majority community overtime and not to the KP’s. That PRC was, of pandits, for pandits and by pandits, is only an expression that smacks of satire and subjectivity, both. In 1927, majority of KP’s was as illiterate and as poor, as the muslims of the valley were. The KPs living in country side were more unfavourably placed because of lack of skills of other traits – some small exceptions exempted. KPs have been on the receiving end all through the last seven hundred years. However, their contribution to the evolution of the state to claim the status of a paradise on Earth, not only because of its natural endowment but also for being the fountain head of knowledge, spiritualism and Indian civilisation can never be over looked.
* The political gains have been sought to be optimised at the cost of patriotic sections of the society of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir. There, however, is no evidence that the political gains approach followed in the last few years has yielded any substantial results so far. The situation in Kashmir is still fluid. Stabilising Kashmir, politically, socially and economically is required but not at the cost of the sections of society who will be the catalyst in bringing about that stability. The Domicile Law, as it stands now seem to be going contrary to what the country would like to achieve post abrogation of article 370. It needs an immediate course correction. The excitement or the expression of pleasure is purely a human psychological phenomenon and it should not be viewed parochially. That KPs, refugees in their own country, have so far not got a fair deal may not be disputed but they will not relent till the goal is reached. KPs need to make a united effort to ensure that Domicile Law is put in the right perspective so that the ab-origins of valley- the KPs – are not put to any disadvantage, which may prove seriously detrimental to the national interest
It is suggested that all KPs, across the globe be registered and given entitlement to DC, on production of PRC of any on their blood relations or may even be given one time exemption, to compile the accurate census record of Kashmiri Pandits.
Kashmiri Pandits were never as Pariah, nor will the ever be. They will be there to restore Kashmir to its pristine glory. Let sympathies be well intentioned to warrant an acknowledgement. Anybody writing on Kashmiri Pandits should bear Kashmir history in mind. Let intellectualism be positive and productive to witness the evolution of harmonious global society. Sarcasm and sympathy are sharply distinct.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here