Revised Domicile Rules

Post reorganisation of erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir permanent resident rules or in common parlance the ‘Permanent State Subject Rules ‘ stood rendered as infructuous along with abrogation of provisions of Articles 370 and 35 A of the constitution. Needless to add, these Acts of the constitution empowered the then state Assembly to define a resident of Jammu and Kashmir. Such people alone had the right to apply for jobs and also own immovable properties. However, the vital constitutional and administrative changes on August 5 last year called for framing of new Domicile Rules and requisite structure about who could be termed as a domicile of Jammu and Kashmir and accordingly in April , the Government came out with a new Domicile Rule which included those who lived in Union Territory for 15 years or had studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10th or 12th examination in any educational institution in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. An authority of the level of a Tehsildar alone could issue such Domicile certificate in the capacity of a competent authority as against the same being done by a Deputy Commissioner under old arrangement.
However, this new Domicile Rule issued by the Centre required certain clarifications and even some measure of review which has now been done and under which, all left out PoK refugee families who after 1947 partition, had migrated to places other than Jammu and Kashmir and Kashmiri Pandit migrants residing in different parts of the country are made now eligible for domicile certificates of the Union Territory. In the earlier order, there was an element of ambiguity on the status of those refugees who either migrated to different parts of the country or did not opt for obtaining a Permanent State Subject under the system prevailing prior to August 5, last year as also the fate of those Kashmiri Pandit ‘migrants’ who were residing in different parts of the country . The cut of point year 1947 and probably the first voter list issued having been made the base point to determine the eligibility of such certificate, shows the inclusiveness and the flexibility of the revised order. The revised order gives due leverage and opportunity to those left out displaced persons, migrants , other ‘bonafide’ persons who because of being outside J&K and who due to one or the other reason, could not register themselves with the designated authority – the Commissioner in the UT, could now register themselves for purposes of getting a Domicile certificate.
Accordingly , the long due rather overdue rights of all the refugees – be these from PoK, West Pakistan , Balmiki society members who from different parts of India had performed their duties and settled here since decades together, children of Kashmiri Pandit community residing outside Jammu and Kashmir etc could now find themselves under the ambit of the eligibility of getting domicile certificates. Notification of new Domicile Rules by the UT Government of Jammu and Kashmir issued on May 18 titled ‘Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules 2020’ is a great step towards real integration of Jammu and Kashmir with rest of India. It may be noted that such rules, by virtue of which a Domicile Certificate could be issued, is the mandatory eligibility condition for appointment to any post under the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. That a maximum period of 15 days has been proposed to be required for issuance of such certificate indicates that the procedure should be hassles free and no time consuming, least plagued with red-tape(ism) as was the case in previous arrangement. In case within 15 days , an applicant was unable to get the requisite certificate, it could approach an Appellate Authority which shall be vested with revision(al) powers , call, check and verify any records and within seven days, the issuing authority had to issue the certificate or pay Rs.50000 as default penalty, recoverable from the salary of such issuing authority.
There is , however, an important improvement in the earlier order in that now children of all Central Government officials and All India Services Officers who served Jammu and Kashmir for a period of ten years would also be treated as domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir. Significantly, on recruitment to Government vacancies, the Government seems to be all set to accelerate the process for which, a Committee has been constituted. Let us hope due transparency , inclusiveness and speed were given due space. Dual citizenship is a thing of the past now in real terms. Disenfranchised ‘daughters’ married outside the UT, now stand to regain their rights. In short, Jammu and Kashmir is , now, not a cloistered but open for all Indians.