More Central, J&K Laws with many amendments adapted in Ladakh UT

Now, VC of Ladakh University to have 3 years tenure

*New provisions to check irregularities by Coop Societies

Mohinder Verma

JAMMU, Oct 27: More laws enacted by the Parliament and Legislature of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir from time to time have been ordered to be adapted in the Union Territory of Ladakh with amendments in order to ensure smooth functioning of the administration and other important institutions.
An order in this regard has been issued by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in exercise of the powers conferred by Section 96 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019. This is the second order in respect of Ladakh Union Territory issued by the Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla in a short span of three days so as to avoid confusion in the functioning of administration and key institutions.
As per the order, amendments have been made in the University of Ladakh Act, 2018 which was enacted by the then Governor of Jammu and Kashmir in exercise of the powers vested under Proclamation No.P-1/18 dated June 20, 2018.
In Sub-Section 5 of Section 12 of the Act it was mentioned that the Vice-Chancellor of Cluster University of Ladakh shall hold office for five years provided that on the expiry of the term of his office the Vice-Chancellor shall be eligible for re-appointment for such term as the Chancellor may in consultation with the Pro-Chancellor determine.
However, the Ministry of Home Affairs has amended the Sub-Section 5 of Section 12 and now it has been mentioned that Vice-Chancellor shall hold office for a term of three years with an extension of another two years after evaluation of performance by the Chancellor (Lieutenant Governor) in the manner as he deems fit or until he attains the age of 65 years, which is earlier. “The emoluments and other conditions of service of the Vice-Chancellor shall be such as may be prescribed and shall not be varied to his disadvantage after his appointment”, reads the amended provision.
Moreover, in Section 21, which pertains to constitution of University Council, earlier it was mentioned that Vice-Chancellors of other Cluster Universities established in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir will be its members. However, the amended Section 21 states: “Two Vice-Chancellors of other Universities as may be nominated by the Chancellor (Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh) will be members of the University Council”. This means that VCs of Cluster Universities of J&K would not be members of the University Council of Ladakh University.
Similarly, the Vice-Chancellors of Cluster Universities of J&K would not be members of the Syndicate of the Ladakh University as necessary amendments have also been made in this regard by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
It is pertinent to mention here that in pursuance of the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganization Act passed by the Parliament in August, 2019, the two Kashmir University campuses in Ladakh—one at Khumbuthang in Kargil and the other at Taruthang in Leh, have been transferred to the University of Ladakh, as part of the policy on asset division between the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, along with physical infrastructure, laboratory and library facilities and staff of various kinds.
The MHA has also ordered adaptation of Jammu and Kashmir State Evacuees (Administration of Property) Act in the Union Territory of Ladakh but by replacing words “J&K” with “Union Territory of Ladakh”. Moreover, several provisions of the State Land Acquisition Act have been replaced with the provisions of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 passed by the Parliament.
As far as Central Laws are concerned, the MHA has ordered adaptation of the Societies Registration Act in Ladakh Union Territory but with several modifications and insertion of new provisions, which mainly pertain to maintenance of accounts of Cooperative Societies and preparation of balance sheet and report to identify irregularities etc.
“Every governing body entrusted with the management of the affairs of a society registered under this Act shall keep regular accounts and the same shall be audited annually”, the new provisions said, adding “the auditor shall in his report specify all cases of irregular, illegal or improper expenditure or failure or omission to recovery money or other property belonging to the society or of loss or waste of money or other property thereof”.
The auditor shall state whether such expenditure, failure, omission, loss or waste was caused in consequence of breach of trust or misappropriation or any other misconduct on the part of the governing body or any other person.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has also repealed as a whole in respect of Ladakh Union Territory the Jammu and Kashmir Land Improvement Schemes Act; the J&K Public Men and Public Servants Declaration of Assets and Other Provisions Act and the Sher-i-Kashmir Universities of Agricultural Sciences and Technology Act.
These Acts don’t have relevance in respect of Ladakh Union Territory as such there is no justification in keeping the same in the list of laws applicable in Ladakh.