August 05, 2019

Article 370, Article 35A Superseded; J&K To Be Bifurcated Into Union Territory Of Ladakh And Union Territory Of J&K

[ By Bobby Anthony ]


The central government has introduced a resolution to make inoperative Article 370 of the constitution and all provisions of the Act, which provides special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

Union Home Minister Amit Shah introduced the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill in parliament to bifurcate the present State of Jammu of Kashmir into the Union Territory of Ladakh and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

As per the Bill, union territory of Ladakh would have no legislature like Chandigarh, while the other union territory of Jammu and Kashmir would have a legislature like Delhi as well as Puducherry.

Additionally, President Ram Nath Kovind has issued a presidential order on Jammu and Kashmir, exercising his power under Clause 1 of Article 370. This presidential order has done away sections under Article 35A.

Article 35A was introduced in 1954 by the way of a constitutional order by the then President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru government.

Incidentally, Article 35A, confers special rights to permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir and prohibits the sale of land in J&K to non-Kashmiris.

The government is exploring options to create categories of land as well as non-Kashmiris to purchase land in J&K in certain cases.

However, restrictions could be placed on the quantum of land based depending on the usage.

Since there are issues about selling agricultural land in many hilly states, this could be be kept out of bounds, but land may be sold for businesses, as well as other activities.

For instance, Section 118 of the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reforms Act, 1972, restricts transfer of land to a person who is not an agriculturist of the state and similar options could be explored in J&K as well.

There are various limits placed on the quantum of land which may be purchased for building residences or shops or industrial projects or public use facilities under Rule 38-A of the Himachal Pradesh Tenancy and Land Reforms Rules.

Similar legal options are likely to be explored in the newly carved out union territories as well.

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