Outside UT; MPs, Govt Secys to be above them
PSC Chairman, CEC, CAG too above in rank
JAMMU, Sept 19: With Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh switching over to two Union Territories on Jammu and Kashmir shortly, they will have Lt Governors instead of the Governors while J&K UT which has been granted the Legislature will have the Chief Minister after conduct of Assembly elections, who will be way down in Protocol maintained by the Government of India as compared to the Governors and Chief Ministers of other States.
Not only the Lt Governor and Chief Minister but even the Cabinet Ministers and other elected functionaries of the J&K UT will also be confined far behind in the Protocol as compared to when Jammu and Kashmir was State. Such will be the decline in protocol of the J&K Chief Minister in a UT that he will be placed below the Member of Parliament (MP) when he travels outside Jammu and Kashmir.
A detailed study of Warrant of Precedence maintained by the Central Government for top functionaries of the Centre, States, Union Territories, Courts and other Constitutional bodies, revealed that the Lieutenant Governor of Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will be placed at No. 11 in the ‘list of protocol’ as compared to the Governor of a State, who figured at Serial No. 4 just behind the President, Vice President and Prime Minister.
Further, the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory will slip to No. 15 in the protocol while the Chief Ministers of States are placed at No. 7 along with Cabinet Ministers of the Union Government.
The Lieutenant Governor and the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory will be even below in the protocol from Union Ministers of State.
Former Presidents, Deputy Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India, Lok Sabha Speaker, Cabinet Ministers of the Centre, Chief Ministers, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission, former Prime Ministers, Leaders of Opposition in Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha, holders of `Bharat Ratna’ decoration, Ambassadors, Supreme Court Judges, Chairperson of Union Public Service Commission, Chief Election Commissioner, Comptroller and Auditor General of India, Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Deputy Chief Ministers of States, Deputy Speakers of Lok Sabha, Members of the Planning Commission, Attorney General of India and the Cabinet Secretary will be above in the protocol from the Lt Governors of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territories.
Apart from these, the Chief of Staff holding rank of full General or equivalent, Envoys, Chairmen and Speakers of the State Legislature and Chief Justices of High Courts will be above in the protocol from the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory.
As only Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory has been granted Legislature, it will have the Chief Minister and Ministers while Ladakh Union Territory hasn’t been given the Legislature as it has two Autonomous Hill Development Councils-one each in Leh and Kargil.
The Warrant of Precedence revealed that the Lieutenant Governors of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Union Territories and Chief Minister of J&K UT during their visit outside the UTs will be placed at No. 25 in the protocol behind the Members of Parliament (MPs), Deputy Ministers of the States, Members of several Commissions like Minorities, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Secretaries to the Government of India, Secretaries of Minorities Commission, SC and ST Commission, Secretaries to President, Prime Minister, Rajya Sabha, Lok Sabha, Solicitor General, Vice Chairman of Central Administrative Tribunal and officers in the rank of Lieutenant Generals or equivalent.
“Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory will be at par with only Deputy Ministers of the Government of India,” as per the protocol. However, the post of the Deputy Minister has been shelved for quite long time and now there are only Cabinet Ministers, Ministers of State with Independent Charge and Ministers of State at the Centre.
Additional Secretaries to the Government of India, Additional Solicitor General, Advocate Generals of States, Chairman, Tariff Commission, Acting High Commissioners, Chief Secretaries of the State Governments outside their respective States, Deputy CAG, Deputy Speakers of Legislative Assemblies, Director CBI, DG BSF, DG CRPF, Director Intelligence Bureau, Members of Union Public Services Commission and Principal Staff Officers of the Armed Forces of the rank of Major General or equivalent will be at par with Lieutenant Governor and Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory when the two visit outside the State.
Sources confirmed that the Chief Minister of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will be placed far behind the protocol than what the Chief Minister of J&K State used to be. Similar will be the case with the Lieutenant Governor as compared to the Governor.
The Central Government had on August 5 scrapped special Constitutional provisions of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the State into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, which will come into existence on October 31.