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What new J&K domicile rule is and how it impacts residents of the union territory

Until August 2019, J&K enjoyed a special status under the Constitution, which restricted its jobs, property for natives. This has now changed.

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Srinagar: Fresh changes introduced by the Modi government this week will allow Indians from across the country to apply for local government jobs in Jammu & Kashmir, including its police force.

The decision comes eight months after the government stripped Jammu & Kashmir of its special status, revoked its statehood and bifurcated it into two union territories.

The move has been widely criticised by mainstream political players of the Valley as “discriminatory” and an “insult”.

ThePrint explains what the new domicile rule is, and delves into its possible administrative implications.

Also Read: ‘New domicile rules an insult’ — J&K parties slam Modi govt move amid Covid-19 outbreak

Changing policy

Until last year, J&K enjoyed a special status under the constitutional provisions of Article 370 and 35A, which didn’t allow anyone from the rest of India to obtain domicile status there. This meant outsiders couldn’t apply for jobs in the local government (this rule didn’t apply to central government postings) or own property there.

However, both these provisions were scrapped on 5 August last year.

Earlier this week, the central government introduced a new definition of domicile in the union territory through the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020.

The new definition allows all Indian citizens to apply for government jobs in J&K if they fulfil certain conditions (listed later).

Through its Tuesday order, the Modi government also repealed 29 laws from the erstwhile state of J&K and amended 109 others that had not been struck down last August. The rest of the laws exclusive to J&K and its constitution ceased to exist when Article 370 was scrapped.

The immediate implication

The special status of the erstwhile undivided state of Jammu & Kashmir had its roots in laws made during Dogra ruler Maharaja Hari Singh’s regime.

The laws, notified in 1927 and 1932, defined citizenship, property rights, and privileges of state subjects. When Jammu & Kashmir acceded to India, these laws were preserved under Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution, which restricted local property rights, government jobs and scholarships to permanent residents. Outlining the definition of a permanent resident was also the sole mandate of the state legislature.

The domicile rule makes all local government jobs available to non-natives, including those in police and administration, which means they will now be able to serve in such positions as station house officers and senior superintendents of police, besides secretaries, head of departments, deans and professors in state-owned universities.

As a result, the immediate implication of this change will most likely be reflected by the administrative set-up, which has so far been dominated by J&K natives.

Also Read: With Art 370, BJP hoped to win Kashmir but is now losing Jammu: ‘Are we also anti-national?’

Who can be domiciled or employed in J&K?

The new rule only reserves non-gazetted class four jobs for Jammu & Kashmir natives. It also lists certain conditions one should fulfil to qualify as a domicile applicant — applicants should have resided in J&K for 15 years, or studied in the state for seven years and appeared in either the Class 10 or the Class 12 examination there.

Children of central government officers (Army, paramilitary forces, IAS, IPS), and employees of public sector undertakings and banks, central universities etc who have served in Jammu & Kashmir for 10 years will also be eligible to apply for gazetted and non-gazetted government jobs. These included those who work outside the state.

Migrants registered by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner need not fulfil the aforementioned requirements and will automatically be eligible for a domicile certificate.

The political road ahead

It remains to be seen how various political outfits of J&K will navigate themselves in the midst of the new political and administrative realities that have taken shape since last year.

Ahead of the Modi government’s 5 August decision, all mainstream political parties of Kashmir stated by way of the ‘Gupkar declaration’ that any tinkering with the special status of J&K would be considered an act of war against its people. In the immediate aftermath of the 5 August decision, dozens of politicians, including three former chief ministers — Farooq and Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, and Mehbooba Mufti of the Peoples Democratic Party — were detained by the administration, and political activity remained suspended for months together.

But many leading politicians, including Omar and Farooq, are now out, and the domicile rules drew immediate criticism from parties such as the Congress, the National Conference, the Peoples Democratic Party, the Peoples Conference, Peoples Movement, and the newest entrant, Apni Party, which has often been accused of being a central government proxy.

Even so, there isn’t much clarity on their plans now that Article 370 has been scrapped, and many questions remain unanswered. For example, will these parties accept the government’s 5 August decision and restrict their fight to protection of jobs and local land rights for now, as the Apni Party claims to be doing? Or will the restoration of special status be the peg of any political activity from here on?

Also Read: Modi govt amends J&K’s Public Safety Act, withdraws privileges given to former CMs


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  1. I am a PRC holder of Jammu District can apply for in another District in which I am living presently.

  2. After nine monthes still thr prople of j and k waiting 4G. Really we are frustrated by the pakistan as well as indian govt.

  3. Domicile act of Jammu and Kashmir is the most historical and democratic decesion taken by government of India for making india united. Kashmiri Pandits , the rooted out aborigine of Kashmir get their own homeland right ,security after few decades.It is the most bold , timeworthy and honest political steps for tomorrow’s India.Kashmir really becomes the part of India through this rule.I must support it and will support BJP for next election 2024 again to keep my motherland free from terrorism.This domicile act should have been passed 72 years back but Congress and it’s allied forces like NC,PDP, never think about it than appeasement of terrorism and keeping vote bank intact via Pakistan.Modi ji has written a new history of Kashmir by incorporating it finally.History will remember him as an honest and iron leader of India.

  4. Bpis leya jaya domicile ko ma jammu ka youth hona k relation se bol rha hu mmat khelna jamu k youth k sath

  5. This is very good decision ,taken by modi government but here is sad you and your kind of people they are misguiding of innocent people .and the print is at 1st number position one of those.

  6. Nearly 97 % of the population of J&K ( permanent residents of J&K had not migrated in 1990 . Domicile definition lacks wisdom since it has no mention of ‘permanent residents’ of erstwhile State of J&K.

  7. No peace in Kashmir until the Kashmiri Pandits are rehabilitated peacefully in their original homes, after getting intruders evicted. If BJP fails to achieve this, they won’t get my vote in 2024.

  8. Its a good step to bring Kashmiri Pandits (Pride of Kashmir) back to valley.As we can see after 1990 (After Exodus Day) Kashmir has been at Unrest phase.
    But main Question still lies that :-

    Will Kashmiri Pandits Return back to valley ?

    And are they still interested in coming back to valley again ?

  9. Azaan, you must realize that not any territory in India should have no special status and we are all equal under the law?Kashmir will always remain a territory within India and no mateer how you or small minority like you feel, your opinions will be heard in Democracy but will have no relevance.You are a Muslim but as equal in all of India and your faith should not tell you to be different and in a Democracy if do not like to live and practice, you are free to go and join your brothers in Pakistan or any other Islamic country.Remember there you will not have same freedom as you enjoy as a member of India

  10. Kudos to the changes brought in though it took seven decades to do so. Let the people exploit this opportunity to make it the true crown of the country!

  11. With all the special rights and privileges, Kashmir Muslims were not happy. they wanted a separate country of their own or join Pakistan. In the process they encourages terrorism financed by Pakistan. They never thought some other political party other than Congress will ever rule the country. Now there is no point in complaining. Pakistan is at their weakest point in their history and the world politics have also changed.

    • Well i dont think any non kashmiri under the influence of media shoud be opionated enough to decide or judge the fate of kashmiris on the whole , not having seen the misery brought to people by the ghastly undemocratic repulic of India , you must not comment based on how you think stuff was and is happening . Moreover i bet you dont know how happy mothers were on losing their unarmed sons to bullets and pellets and oh how can we even forget the happy half-widows and their happy families

  12. An outsider from other States in Karnataka State who resides in Karnataka for 15 years or studied 7 years & passed 10th or 12th Std, is considered as Permanent Domicile & eligible for local Govt Jobs & can appear State CET for Engineering /Medical Seats. Now J&K is like any States in India after abolition of Article 370 & 35A. If J&K resident resides in Karnataka for 15 years,he can claim & apply for local Jobs in Karnataka Govt. Why Karnataka Resident resides in Kashmir for Army Job or Central Govt Job or as businessman, how can Kashmir Govt can deny benefit to Karnataka Man or his children for applying Local Job or Eng/Medical seats? Govt done correctly in the matter of Domicile. After abolition of Article 370 & 35 A, all Laws passed by Parliament applies to every State incl Kashmir. The Author of Article should not project one sided story & misguide People. Is he blind that Article 370 & 35A no more exist in Kashmir.? Stop misguiding Kashmiris.

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