Intent behind legislative provision yet to be achieved
Deptts never paid serious attention towards vital exercise
JAMMU, Sept 3: Incredible it may sound but it is a fact that majority of the State laws, which will remain in force in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh as per the provisions of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019, don’t have Rules for their effective implementation as the concerned departments never paid serious attention towards this vital exercise.
As per the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 enacted by the Parliament early last month, a total of 166 State Laws and Governor’s Act shall remain in force in Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh after their formal set-up on November 1, 2019.
These State Laws have not been touched by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs keeping in view their importance in both the Union Territories and to address Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh specific developmental and other issues.
“But the shocking aspect is that majority of these State Laws, which were enacted from time to time by the State Legislature, are still lacking Rules although there is an explicit provision for the same in each of these Acts for carrying out the purposes of these State Laws”, legal experts said.
The relevant Section of each of these Acts read: “The Government, by notification, shall make Rules for carrying out the provisions of the Act and in particular and without prejudice to the generality of forgoing power, such Rules may provide for all or any of the defined matters”. The provision for framing Rules has been kept in the State Laws by the Legislature as after all Government has to implement the Legislations.
Some of these State Laws were enacted several decades back but still their Rules have not been framed by the concerned departments despite being aware of the fact that Rules play crucial role in effective implementation of the Legislations, experts said.
Highlighting the importance of Rules of any Act, they said, “Rules help govern a law and they are made to make the parent Act work. Moreover, Rules provide for the details that are not provided for in the Act. However, Rules by no means can go beyond the power conferred by the Act or extend the same”.
Quoting some examples, they said that Jammu and Kashmir State Town Planning Act was enacted in the year 1963 to ensure development of the State in a planned manner but till date Rules of this Act have not been framed by the concerned department although its Section 29 confers sufficient powers on the Government in this regard.
Similarly, J&K Ancient Monuments Preservation Act was enacted in the year 1977 and J&K Heritage Conservation and Preservation Act in the year 2010 but till date no seriousness has been shown towards framing of much-needed Rules of these State Laws.
While J&K Ancient Monuments Preservation Act was enacted for preservation of ancient monuments and objects of archaeological, historical and artistic interest, the J&K Heritage Conservation and Preservation Act is aimed at conservation and preservation of heritage both tangible and intangible.
Likewise, J&K Prevention and Suppression of Sabotages Act was enacted in the year 1965 to provide for the speedy trial of, and enhanced punishment for the offences of sabotage. But even several decades after its enactment Rules have not been framed although Section 14 of the Act confers powers on the Government in this regard for carrying out the purposes of the State Law.
J&K Water Resources (Regulation and Management Act), 2011, which was enacted by the Legislature to protect the water resources of the State and check their plunder; J&K Underground Public Utilities (Acquisition of Right of User in Land) Act, 2014 and J&K Aerial Ropeway Act, 2002 are among other large number of State Laws whose Rules have not been framed by the concerned Government departments.
Stating that Rules are imperative for effective implementation of the laws, legal experts said, “the procedure to give practical shape to any legislation is only defined in the Rules as such their importance cannot be undermined”, adding “had there been no need of framing Rules the provision in this regard would not have been kept in the parent Acts by the State Legislature”.
They further said, “by not framing Rules the Government departments have created hurdles in achieving the intent behind these State Laws”.