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The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019

On 9th August 2019, the Government of India passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which took effect from 31st October 2019. The bill was introduced in Parliament and approved in both houses of parliament. The act dissolved the state of Jammu and Kashmir and has introduced two new Union Territories (UTs), the UT of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) and the UT of Ladakh. Only the UT of J&K will have a Legislative Assembly.

Features of Article 370

  • The duty of Parliament to make laws for the State was limited to the following subjects: defence, arms and ammunition, atomic energy, airways, postal services, trade and commerce with foreign countries, MP elections, audit of accounts, foreign affairs, diplomatic and consular representations, passport and visas, railways, lighthouses and ports
  • The Constitution of India applied to the State only partially (Only parts V, XI, XV, XVI, XVII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, and Schedules 1, 2, 3, 4, 8 were applicable).
  • The State can have its own Constitution and Flag
  • The State could pass laws on the question of who was eligible to be considered as a permanent resident
  • The State had the power to give permanent residents any special rights relating to the following matters:
    • Obtaining employment in the State Government
    • Buying land and buildings in J&K
    • Living in J&K permanently
    • Obtaining scholarship from the government of J&K
  • Women marrying a person who is not from J&K, and her children, had to lose the right to own property in J&K

Impact of J&K Reorganisation Act

  • In the newly formed UTs of J&K and Ladakh, all Indian Citizens are eligible to:
    • Purchase land and buildings
    • Avail employment opportunities offered by the government
    • Start or invest in any business
    • Settle down permanently and construct residential properties
    • Avail of scholarships and subsidies offered by the government
  • The above facilities have brought about equal opportunities for all citizens of India to live and work in the region of J&K and Ladakh.

Presidential Order

On 5th August 2019, the President passed an order [] stating that all provisions of the Constitution will be applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The effect of this order is that Parliament obtained the power to pass laws in relation to the State of J&K. This made it possible for the Parliament of India to pass the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.

The Act

Re-organisation of territories The State of J&K is dissolved. Its area will be re-organised in the following manner:

  • Kargil and Leh districts are reorganised into Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh.
  • Remaining territories are reorganised into UT of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
Lieutenant Governor The Governor of Jammu and Kashmir State is hereafter known as Lieutenant Governor (LG) of UTs of Ladakh and J&K. Tenure of the LG will be decided by the President of India.
Existing Legislative Council The existing Legislative Council of the State of Jammu and Kashmir stands abolished. All Bills pending in the Council are permitted to lapse.
Seats in Parliament Rajya Sabha seats will be allotted as follows:

  • UT of J&K – 4 seats
  • UT of Ladak – No seats

Lok Sabha seats will be allotted as follows:

  • UT of J&K – 5 seats
  • UT of Ladak – 1 seat
Parliament’s power to create Legislative body or Council of Ministers
  • The Parliament has the authority to create a Legislative body or a Council of Ministers for the UT of J&K or Ladakh.
  • The body mentioned above may either be fully elected or partly elected and partly nominated.
Provisions relating to the Legislative Assembly (LA)
  • The Legislative Assembly (LA) of the UT of J&K will have a strength of 107 members.
  • Out of the above number, 24 seats will remain vacant on account of the occupation of the corresponding areas by Pakistan.
  • Out of the above number, seats are reserved for persons from SC and ST communities.
  • Any person more than 25 years of age and who is a citizen of India can become a member of the LA.
  • The LA has a maximum tenure of 5 years.
  • The Lieutenant Governor should summon the LA at least once in six months.
  • The Lieutenant Governor has the power to dissolve the LA.
  • Decisions in the LA should be arrived at based on the votes of the majority.
  • The Speaker of the LA has the right to vote only in case there is a tie in the votes cast.
  • Business should be transacted in the LA only if there are at least 10 members in attendance. If this requirement is not met, the LA should be adjourned.
  • If a person who is not qualified to be a member of the LA attends, he is liable to pay a penalty of Rs.500 per day.
  • The LA has the power to legislate on all subjects in the State List of the Indian Constitution except public order and police.
  • Bills relating to the subjects of taxation, finance, and audit can be introduced in the LA only after obtaining permission from the Lieutenant Governor.
  • In case there is any inconsistency between laws made by Parliament and laws made by the LA, the law made by the Parliament shall prevail.
Official Language
  • The official language of the UT of J&K may be decided by the LA, but it can only be either Hindi or a language that is in use in the UT of J&K.
  • However, at least one copy of the bills introduced and acts passed in the LA must be in English.
  • A Council of Ministers (including the Chief Minister) should be formed from among the members of the LA.
  • The above Council should not consist of more than ten per cent of the total number of members in the LA.
  • The Chief Minister of the UT of J&K must communicate all official decisions made by him to the Lieutenant Governor.
Administration of the UT of Ladakh The UT of Ladakh will not have any LA and will be administered by the President directly through the Lieutenant Governor.
Emergency Provisions If the President is satisfied that the Law and Order situation in the UT of J&K has become unmanageable, he may suspend any provisions of this Act after consulting with the Lieutenant Governor.
Advocate General The UT of J&K will have an Advocate General to provide legal advice to the government.
High Court The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir shall be the common High Court for the UT of J&K and the UT of Ladakh.
Applicability of Central Laws All central laws will automatically be applicable in the UTs of J&K and Ladakh.
Advisory Committees
  • The Central Government will appoint Advisory Committees for the following purposes:
    • distribution of assets and liabilities of corporations operating in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, between the two Union Territories,
    • issues pertaining to the generation of electricity and supply of water
    • issues pertaining to the Jammu and Kashmir State Financial Corporation
    • The above Committees must submit their reports within six months to the Lieutenant Governor of the UT of J&K
  • The Lieutenant Governor should act on these recommendations within 30 days

The copy of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 can be accessed below:

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019