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Executive order on Jammu and Kashmir domiciles’ land rights coming

A Kashmiri man offer prayers for rice harvest after planting the paddy on the fields. File   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

The Union government is all set to come out with an executive order to extend protection to land rights of domiciles in Jammu and Kashmir. The point of debate is currently on protection to be given to agricultural land, a senior government official told The Hindu.

Also read: Domicile rules for J&K

Union Home Minister Amit Shah said last year that “only government land would be used to establish industries, hospitals and educational institutions.”

On August 5 last year, Mr. Shah moved two bills in the Rajya Sabha to revoke the special status of J&K under Article 370 of the Constitution and to downgrade and bifurcate the State into Union Territories (UTs)- J&K and Ladakh. J&K has been under Central rule since June 2018 and the Assembly was dissolved in November the same year.

Also read: Kashmiri Pandits welcome amended domicile laws

Amendment to Act

Earlier this year, the Home Ministry amended a 2010 Act to define domicile residents in the newly created UT for eligibility in government jobs.

The Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services Decentralization and Recruitment Act, 2010, substituted term “permanent residents” with domiciles. The order defines domiciles as anyone who has resided for a period of 15 years in J&K or has resided for seven years and appeared in Class 10/12 examination in an educational institution there or registered as a migrant.

Also read: Editorial | Letter and spirit: On new domicile rules in J&K

“The land protection policy for J&K will be an executive order and not introduced in Parliament. The loose ends are being tied as it is an emotive issue in both Jammu as well as the Kashmir Valley. But the development aspect also has to be considered; how would new business and industry will be set up else,” said the official.

An earlier version of the domicile order that offered protection to domiciles only in Group D and entry level non-gazetted government posts was reversed within 72 hours after protest by the Jammu unit of the BJP.

“After the fiasco with domicile policy, we are treading cautiously with the land law. Home Minister is closely monitoring the issue and it will be legally vetted and carefully studied before it is published,” said the official.

Also read: Gorkhas, west Pakistan refugees granted domicile certificates in J&K

Land for investment

J&K has identified a land bank of around 5,000 kanals or over 600 acres for investment purpose.

Before its special status was revoked, it had its own land acquisition Act enacted in 1935.

There are 12 States, including Himachal Pradesh, which have provisions to regulate ownership and transfer of land under Article 371 of the Constitution.

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Printable version | Oct 25, 2020 12:51:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/executive-order-on-jk-domiciles-land-rights-coming/article32474998.ece

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