Srinagar: The Narendra Modi government has redefined domicile for government jobs in the newly-created Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir through the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020, issued late Tuesday night.
According to the notification, anyone who has resided in J&K for 15 years or has studied in the state for seven years, and appeared in either the Class 10 or the Class 12 examination, will be eligible for domicile certificates. This would allow them to apply for gazetted and non-gazetted government jobs.
The new rules also state that migrants registered by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner need not fulfill the amended requirements.
It is a stark departure from the earlier domicile laws in the state.
Until J&K was stripped of its special status granted under Article 370 and it was bifurcated into two union territories on 5 August last year, Article 35 A of the Constitution empowered the state assembly to define a J&K resident. Only J&K residents were eligible to apply for jobs or own immovable property in the erstwhile state.
The central government’s Tuesday decision comes amid apprehension in the UT that there would be a demographic change in J&K following the scrapping of Article 370, which guaranteed state subjects the right to jobs, owning property and legislating laws. It also comes at a time when J&K, along with the rest of the country, continues to be under a lock-down in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak.
The latest government order also defines domicile as an administrative category rather than identity-based residency.
109 laws amended, 29 repealed
In the gazette notification issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs, classified as “extraordinary”, the Centre has repealed the J&K Civil Services (special provisions) Act.
It has also introduced changes in Sections 3, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 13 of the J&K Civil Services (decentralisation and recruitment) Act, 2010. The Act is among 109 laws of the erstwhile state that have been amended through Tuesday’s order that also repeals 29 other laws.
While Section 5A now states that no person shall be eligible for appointment to a post carrying a pay scale for not more than Level 4 “unless he is a domicile of UT of J&K”, in Sections 6, 7 and 8 the words “permanent resident of the State” have been substituted with “Domicile of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir”. These sections of the J&K Civil Services Act, 2010, dealt with appointments at district, divisional and state levels.
The Section 13 of J&K Civil Services Act, 2010, which has been omitted completely, defined residence in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Domicile for central govt employees
According to the new rules, children of officials with the central government, all India services, public sector undertakings, public sector banks, statutory bodies, central universities and recognised research institutes of the central government who have served in J&K for 10 years will also be eligible to apply for gazetted and non-gazetted government jobs in the UT.
The new rules have also been extended to children of those who fulfil the above mentioned criteria even if they do not live in J&K.
The government decision also comes when leaders of most political outfits in J&K are under detention. Among the prominent politicians, former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah have been released from detention.