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Government jobs to be reserved for domiciles of J&K, says Centre

A view of the Secretariat building in Srinagar.

A view of the Secretariat building in Srinagar.   | Photo Credit: NISSAR AHMAD

Anyone who has resided for a period of 15 years in the UT of J&K or has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in Class 10th /12th examination will be deemed to be domicile

The Union government has issued a notification defining “domiciles” in the new Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir for protecting jobs in the Group D category and entry-level non-gazetted posts for the domiciles.

On August 6 last, the Centre revoked J&K's special status under Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution and bifurcated it into J&K and Ladakh UTs.

The Tuesday notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) makes changes to the Public Safety Act (PSA) by removing a clause that prohibited J&K residents booked under the Act to be lodged in jails outside.

No pension benefits to ex-CMs

The notification scraps all pension benefits such as car, driver, accommodation, phones, electricity, medical facilities and rent-free accommodation to former J&K Chief Ministers.

The order says the domiciles will be eligible “for the purposes of appointment to any post carrying a pay scale of not more than Level 4.” The Level 4 post comprises positions such as gardeners, barbers, office peons and waterman and the highest rank in the category is that of a junior assistant.

A senior government official said the reservation for domiciles would not apply to Group A and Group B posts, and like other UTs, recruitment would be done by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). “This is according to the norms in other UTs and States. Recruitment by the UPSC expands the search for talent across the country.”

Vacancies in posts

According to the MHA’s reply to a parliamentary panel on February 18, there are over 84,000 vacancies in J&K, of which 22,078 pertain to Class IV employees, 54,375 to non-gazetted and 7,552 at the Gazetted level.

The order defines a domicile as one “who has resided for a period of 15 years in the UT of J&K or has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in Class 10th /12th examination in an educational institution located in the UT of J&K or who is registered as a migrant by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrants).’’

The two revoked constitutional provisions -Article 370 and Article 35A, let the legislature decide the “permanent residents”, prohibiting a non-J&K resident from buying property there and ensuring job reservation for its residents.

On Tuesday, the MHA issued the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020, through which it amended 109 laws and repealed 29 laws of the erstwhile State and inserted “domicile” clause in the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment Act, 2010). The order was issued at 11.07 p.m.

Under the 2010 Act, the clause for “permanent resident of the State” has been substituted by “Domicile” of the UT. The Act pertained to employment in the civil services comprising “district, divisional and State” cadre posts. Only permanent residents of J&K were eligible to apply for the gazetted and non-gazetted posts. The amendment allows non-domiciles also to apply to these posts.

“Children of Central Govt. officials, All India Services, PSUs, autonomous body of Centre, Public Sector Banks, officials of statutory bodies, Central Universities, recognised research institutes of Centre who have served in J&K for a total period of 10 years” will be domiciles.

The domicile status applies to “children of such residents of J&K who reside outside J&K in connection with their employment or business or other professional or vocational reasons but their parents should fulfil any of the conditions provided”.

Another official said, “All posts that are up to the rank of junior assistant and below are open only to domiciles, the entire non-gazetted services has been reserved. Only few positions such as police sub-inspectors are directly recruited at a higher level than junior assistants.”

The Jammu and Kashmir State Legislature Members' Pension Act,1984, has been amended by the MHA. It fixes the pension for former legislators, councillors at Rs 75,000 a month.

Changes to PSA

The MHA order has also made amendments to the PSA, 1978. It changes the criteria for appointing the PSA advisory board on the recommendation of a search committee headed by the Chief Secretary instead of the Chief Justice of the J&K High Court. It also bars sitting High Court judges to be made part of the board without the Chief justice's consultation.

The advisory board has a crucial role to play in release of detenus under the PSA. The order also scraps a clause that dealt with the power to regulate place and conditions of detention.

There are 12 States, including Himachal Pradesh, where provisions of special status under Article 371 apply. The provisions pertain to regulation of ownership and transfer of land in order to conserve the limited resources available for development and to ensure that the State preserves its unique identity.  After J&K was made a UT, several groups in Jammu expressed concern over losing special status and apprehended losing land and jobs to outsiders.

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Update: A fresh order issued late on April 3, 2020, provides protection to domiciles to “any post” in the government including senior level positions in Group A and Group B category.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 8:21:38 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-jobs-to-be-reserved-only-for-domiciles-of-jk-says-centre/article31224164.ece

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