SAC among some State Commissions will cease to exist
JAMMU, Aug 8: For the first time ever since their constitution, several important National Commissions would have jurisdiction over Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh following President of India’s nod to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill, 2019 whereby two Union Territories would be constituted. Moreover, Jammu and Kashmir State Accountability Commission and few others will cease to exist due to repealing of related State Laws.
Under the Fifth Schedule, the reference of which has been made in the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill, 2019, 106 Central Laws would become applicable to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.
As per the provisions of some of these Central Laws, vital National Commissions were constituted by the Government of India from time to time but their jurisdiction could not be extended to Jammu and Kashmir because of the special status conferred to the State under Article 370 of the Constitution of India.
Now, with Article 370 having been abrogated through formal Presidential Order, several important National Commissions would have jurisdiction over Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and provide immense benefits to the inhabitants of Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Quoting some examples, legal experts said that National Commission for Minorities, which was constituted to safeguard the constitutional and legal rights of minorities by way of an Act enacted by the Parliament in 1992, would have jurisdiction over both the Union Territories.
The Commission has the mandate to evaluate the progress of the development of minorities under the Union and States, monitor the working of the safeguards provided in the Constitution and in the laws enacted by the Parliament and the State Legislatures, make recommendations for effective implementation of the safeguards for the protection of the interests of the minorities by the Central Government or the State Governments and look into the specific complaints regarding deprivation of rights and safeguards of the minorities and take up such matters with the appropriate authorities etc.
Initially Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis were declared as minorities under the provisions of this Act but later Union Government included Jains in the list of minority communities and all these communities residing in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh would now get benefitted, the experts said.
Similarly, National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions would have jurisdiction over Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh as Act by which this Commission was established is also in the list of the Central Laws being extended to the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
The functions of this Commission include advising the Central Government or any State Government on any question relating to the education of minorities and look into the complaints regarding deprivation or violation of rights of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions of their choice.
National Commission for Safai Karamcharis, which was established as per the provisions of the Act enacted by the Parliament in 1993, would also have jurisdiction over Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. This Commission has the powers to recommend to the Central Government specific programmes of action towards elimination of inequalities in status, facilities and opportunities for Safai Karamcharis under a time-bound Action Plan.
The Commission is also entrusted with the task of studying and evaluating the implementation of the programmes and schemes relating to the social and economic rehabilitation of Safai Karamcharis and make recommendations to the Central Government and the State Government for better coordination and implementation of such programmes and schemes.
Another important National Commission, which will have jurisdiction over Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, is National Commission for Women, which was established as per the provisions of the Act enacted by the Parliament in 1990.
This Commission has the mandate to investigate and examine all the matters relating to the safeguards provided for the women under the Constitution and other laws; review from time to time existing provisions of the Constitution and other laws affecting women and recommend amendments thereto.
During the Governor’s Rule, the Jammu and Kashmir State Commission for Protection of Women and Child Rights Act, 2018 was enacted and even the Commission was made functional but the same now falls in the list of the State Laws and Governor’s Acts which will not be applicable in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.
The Jammu and Kashmir State Accountability Commission will cease to exist as the J&K State Accountability Commission Act, 2002 is also in the list of the State Laws including Governor’s Acts which are going to be repealed in both the UTs.
“Even otherwise Accountability Commission failed to meet the objectives behind its establishment mainly due to lack of cooperation from the successive State Governments and clipping of its wings in the shape of amendments in the Act”, legal experts said.
However, Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission and Jammu and Kashmir State Commission for Backward Classes will continue to function as the Acts whereby these Commissions came into existence don’t fall in the list of the State Laws which are going to be repealed.