Govt initiates exercise as per J&K Reorganization Act
*Earlier appointees deemed to have held office till Oct 31
JAMMU, Nov 14: In a major development, the administration of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has initiated an exercise to appoint new Chairpersons and Members of five Commissions and Authorities as per the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 as the current appointees are deemed to have held office only till the appointed day-October 31, 2019.
These Commissions/ Authorities are Jammu and Kashmir Water Resources Regulatory Authority, Jammu and Kashmir Vigilance Commission, J&K Ombudsman for Panchayats, J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examination and Jammu and Kashmir Commission for Backward Classes.
The Section 95 of J&K Reorganization Act, which deals with territorial extent of laws, states: “All Central Laws mentioned in the Fifth Schedule to this Act, on and from the appointed day, shall apply in the manner as provided therein, to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh”.
“All other laws in Fifth Schedule, applicable to existing State of Jammu and Kashmir immediately before the appointed day, shall apply in the manner as provided therein, to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh”, read Sub-Section 2 of Section 95.
In the light of these provisions of the J&K Reorganization Act, following the formation of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh on October 31, 2019, all the current appointees of these Commissions/Authorities are deemed to have held office only till the appointed day-October 3.
“Due to this, there is a need to make fresh appointments to these Commissions and Authorities as such the Government this morning issued directions to the concerned Administrative Secretaries to initiate a fresh exercise immediately for constituting these Commissions/Authorities continued in terms of Section 95 of the J&K Reorganization Act”, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
These Commissions and Authorities were constituted under J&K Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act, 2010; J&K Vigilance Commission Act, 2011; J&K Ombudsman for Panchayats Act, 2014; J&K Board of Professional Entrance Examination Act, 2002 and J&K Commission for Backward Classes Act, 1997.
“The possibility of Government retaining some of the present Chairpersons and Members of these Commissions and Authorities and dropping others during the fresh exercise cannot be ruled out”, sources said in response to a question.
As far as J&K Water Resources Regulatory Authority is concerned, Pramod Jain, former bureaucrat, is its Chairperson and former Judicial Officer Kaneez Fatima and former Director General Budget Ravi Magotra are its Members.
Retired IPS officer P L Gupta is the Chief Vigilance Commissioner in the J&K Vigilance Commission while as retired IAS officers Gazzanfer Hussain and Hilal Ahmad Parray are the Vigilance Commissioners.
Similarly, retired IAS officer Krishan Ballabh Aggarwal is the Ombudsman for the Panchayats in J&K. With his appointment in the month of March this year, the post of Ombudsman for the grass root level democratic institutions in the rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir got filled for the first time.
Retired IAS officer Mohammad Ashraf Bukhari is the Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Board of Professional Entrance Examination. Similarly, former IAS officer Jeet Lal Gupta is the Chairman of J&K Commission for Backward Classes.
The Acts whereby these Commissions and Authorities were constituted have not been repealed by the Parliament and will remain in force in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh as such merely new appointments have to be made in terms of Section 95 of the J&K Reorganization Act, sources said.