Present Guv to continue as LG of JK, Ladakh UTs
LC being abolished, IAS/IPS to retain J&K cadre
JAMMU, Aug 5: Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, which has been passed by the Rajya Sabha will pave way for bifurcation of the State of Jammu and Kashmir by creating two Union Territories and the Bill has proposed several changes in the existing provisions of law to ensure smooth transition.
While the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature as prevalent in Delhi and Puducherry, the UT of Ladakh will have no Legislature like Chandigarh.
The Governor of existing State of Jammu and Kashmir Satya Pal Malik shall be a Lieutenant Governor for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh for such period as may be determined by the President.
Click here for full text of the bill
Beside the Bill also aims to make some sweeping historical changes to the existing legal edifice of the State and proposes to abolish the Legislative Council while retaining the Legislative Assembly in UT of Jammu and Kashmir, which will have term of five years.
In case of UT of Ladakh, the LG shall be assisted by the advisors, which will be appointed by the Central Government.
While dwelling on the objectives and reasons behind the Bill, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said, “the Ladakh Division of the State of Jammu and Kashmir has a large area but is sparsely populated with a very difficult terrain. There has been a long pending demand of people of Ladakh, to give it the status of a Union Territory to enable them to realise their aspirations”.
“Further, keeping in view the prevailing internal security situation, fuelled by cross border terrorism in the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir, a separate Union Territory for Jammu and Kashmir is being created with legislature”, says the Bill whose copy is with EXCELSIOR.
However, the Bill proposed to increase the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of UT of Jammu and Kashmir to 114 and delimitation of the constituencies may be determined by the Election Commission. As was the case earlier, 24 seats shall remain vacant and shall not be taken into account for reckoning the total membership of Assembly.
While earlier, seats were reserved for Schedule Castes, a new provision has also proposed reserved seats for Schedule Tribe. The number of seats reserved for SC and STs would be proportionate to their population in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. Two women members will be nominated to the Legislative Assembly to give representation to women.
As per the provisions of the BIll, the Lieutenant Governor – who would be the new administrator of the new UT will be appointed by the President. While the UT of Ladakh would comprise Leh and Kargil district; the UT of Jammu and Kashmir would comprise territories existing under the Jammu and Kashmir province as of today.
The Financial Memorandum of the Bill says, “the Central Government shall determine the share of the award made by the Fourteenth Finance Commission between the two successor Union Territories on the basis of population ratio and other parameters. It shall also provide appropriate grants to the successor Union territory of Ladakh having regard to the resources available to that Union territory”, adding, “clause 84 of the Bill deals with apportionment of assets and liabilities on the basis of the recommendations of the Advisory Committee, which may involve expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India. By formation of a separate Union territory for Ladakh without Legislature, would involve expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of India”.
The Legislative Assembly of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir can make laws with respect to any of the matters enumerated in the State List except subjects mentioned at entries 1 and 2 , namely “Public Order” and “Police” respectively or the Concurrent List in the Seventh to the Constitution of India.
“The Bills passed by the Legislative Assembly shall be presented to the Lieutenant Governor for his assent, who can either accord his approval or forward the same to President for consideration”, says the document. The Legislative Assembly shall every year lay before the House annual financial statement with details of estimated receipts and estimated expenditure of the Union Territory.
The Bill prohibits discussion with respect to the conduct of any judge of Supreme Court or High Court in the discharge of his duties. In case Assembly is not in session the LG is empowered to promulgate Ordinances for important issues.
Elaborating about the strength of Ministers, the document says, “the Council of Ministers should be consisting of not more than ten per cent of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly including the Chief Minster and therefore the UT could have only nine Ministers including CM”.
“Further, the Legislative Council shall stand abolished and every member thereof shall cease to be such member. All Bills pending in the Legislative Council immediately before the appointed day shall lapse on the abolition of the Council”, says the Bill.
The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister.
Dwelling on the fate of existing members of Rajya Sabha, the Bill says, “all the four existing members shall deemed to have been elected to fill the seats allotted to the UT of Jammu and Kashmir and the term of these sitting members shall remain unaltered till 2021”. The existing MPs of Lok Sabha will also remain the same — five seats from the UT of Jammu and Kashmir and one from the UT of Ladakh.
On the issue of delimitation, the Bill says, “the Election Commission shall take into consideration as far as practicable, be geographically compact areas, and in delimiting them, regard shall be had to physical features, existing boundaries of administrative units, facilities of communication and conveniences to the public”.
Dwelling on the functioning of judiciary, the Bill says, “the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir shall be the common High Court for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh. The Judges of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir for the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir holding office immediately before the appointed day shall become on that day the Judges of the common High Court”, adding, “the expenditure in respect of salaries and allowances of the Judges of the common High Court shall be allocated amongst the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh on the basis of population ratio”.
The document says, “the members of the cadres of Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFS) for the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir shall continue to function on the existing cadres. The provisional strength, composition and allocation of officers currently borne on the existing cadre of Jammu and Kashmir to the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh, as referred to in sub-section (2) shall be such as the Lieutenant Governor of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir may, by order, determine on or after the appointed day”.
“The members of each of the said services, currently borne on the Jammu and Kashmir cadre immediately before the appointed day shall be finally allocated between the successor Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh, in such manner and with effect from such date or dates as the Central Government may, by order, specify on the recommendation of Lieutenant Governors of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir; and Union territory of Ladakh”, says the Bill.
The Officers so allocated to both the Union Territories shall function within these Union Territories, in accordance with the rules framed by the Central Government. However, in future, the All India Service officers to be posted to Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir or Union territory of Ladakh, as the case may be, shall be borne on the Arunachal, Goa and Mizoram Union Territory cadres and necessary modifications in corresponding cadre allocations rules may be made accordingly, by the Central Government.
Referring to the provisions of other services, the document says, “every person who is serving on substantive basis in connection with the affairs of the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir shall, on and from that day provisionally continue to serve in connection with the affairs of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh, by general or special order of the Lieutenant Governor of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Further, every direction under this sub-section issued after the expiry of a period of one year from the appointed day shall be issued with the consultation of the Government or Administration of the successor Union Territories, as the case may be.
The employees of State Public Sector Undertakings, Corporations and other autonomous bodies shall continue to function in such undertaking, corporation or autonomous bodies for a period of one year and during this period the corporate body concerned shall determine the modalities for distributing the personnel between the successor Union Territories.
The documents, says, “the Public Service Commission for the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir shall be the Public Service Commission for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. For Ladakh, the Union Public Service Commission, with the approval of the President, shall serve the needs of the Union territory of Ladakh”.
* Common HC for J&K, Ladakh UTs
* UT can’t make laws pertaining to Law and Order, Police
* UT J&K to have only nine Ministers
* UT Ladakh to have Advisors
* PSC for J&K UT, UPSC for Ladakh
* 4 RS members to continue with their term