New Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) Domicile Rules – Implications & Criticisms

Fear and apprehensions of the permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir following the abrogation of special status have escalated due to the recent domicile amendments. These amendments allow Indians from across the country to apply for local government jobs based on said criteria. These new domicile rules opened avenues of employment for non-permanent residents within the union territory. The Centre is currently faced with numerous criticisms as the new domicile rules can reduce the employment opportunities for the local youth.

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What is a domicile?

  • A person is said to have a domicile in a country in which he/she is considered to have his/her permanent home.
  • An individual cannot have more than one domicile.
  • Domicile plays a critical role in the writing of a will, intestate succession, and succession planning.
  • Under the Indian Succession Act, 1925, the succession of immovable property is regulated by the law of India wherever a person has domiciled in India during his or her time of passing away.
  • The concept of domicile does not relate to the physical aspect of maintaining a house or residence.
  • It mostly relates to the intention of the individual to remain at a place forever, unless circumstances should occur to change his/her intentions.
  • For instance, if an Indian moved to the US temporarily on an H1B visa for employment purposes, his/her domicile would continue to be in India, as the permanent residence is still in India.

What were the previous domicile rules in the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir?

  • The special status of the erstwhile undivided state of Jammu and Kashmir had its roots in the laws made during Maharaja Hari Singh’s regime.
  • The laws notified in 1927 and 1932, defined citizenship, property rights and privileges of state subjects.
  • When Jammu and Kashmir acceded to India, these laws were preserved under Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution.
  • Last year, Article 370 and Article 35A were revoked by the central government.
  • Also, the state was bifurcated into two union territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
  • Article 35A empowered the erstwhile state legislature to define “permanent residents” of state of Jammu and Kashmir and provide them with special rights and privileges.
  • According to the Article, only permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir were allowed to own immovable property in the state or get employment under the state government or have the right to state scholarships

Most probable and repeated topics of upsc prelims

Who can now be domiciled or employed in Jammu and Kashmir?

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs had recently issued the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Order, 2020.
  • This order amended 109 laws and repealed 29 others of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Among these, Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment) Act, 2010 was amended to insert “domicile” clause by replacing “permanent resident of the State” clause. This new clause defined the eligibility for domiciles.
  • Under the new order, a person can be considered a domiciled resident of Jammu and Kashmir if he/she:
  • Had resided in Jammu and Kashmir for 15 years
  • Had studied for at least 7 years and appeared in 10th or 12th examination from an educational institute within the union territory
  • Is Registered as a migrant by the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrant). In this context, these individuals will be automatically eligible for a domicile certificate.
  • It also includes children of employees of the central government, public sector banks, central universities, autonomous central government bodies and all India service officers if they have served in the union territory for 10 years.
  • The power to issue domicile certificates has been given to tehsildars
  • All government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir government are reserved for domicile residents irrespective of level and pay scale.
  • No person shall be eligible for any state government posts unless he/she is a domicile of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

What are the implications?

  • The new domicile rule makes all government jobs available to those who were previously not permanent residents, including those in police and administration.
  • This means that they will now be able to serve in senior positions in the government departments, and also as deans and professors in state-owned universities.
  • The implications of this change will be reflected by the administrative set up that has so far been dominated by the natives of Jammu and Kashmir.

Why is this move being criticised?

Reduced job opportunities:

  • The abrogation of Article 370 was well-received in Jammu and Kashmir because this move promised more opportunities and funds to the Muslim-dominated valley and Ladakh.
  • However, the recent notification reduces the chances of availing top government posts in the union territory for the marginalised.
  • While earlier the 4.8 lakh Grade A to D government jobs were reserved for only domiciles, the new law opens an avenue for any resident who has been living in the erstwhile state for a certain period of time.
  • This would result in more competition and lesser chances for the natives to secure employment in the state.
  • According to the 2016 Economic Survey Report, a quarter of Jammu and Kashmir’s population between 18 and 29 are unemployed.
  • The new changes can increase the levels of unemployment.

The marginalisation of locals:

  • Due to mistrust and hostility of Jammu and Kashmir towards ‘outsiders’, anyone outside the union territory, who choose to permanently settle in the Kashmir Valley could be seen as potential land grabbers.
  • There is also a high chance of Jammu and Ladakh becoming the prime focus for people from different parts of India to buy land and settle.
  • This will bring about considerable economic activity. However, at the same time, the locals will have to not only offer better space but also provide equal opportunity to participate in work.
  • This could potentially marginalise the locals once the settlers arrive.

Demography:

  • There is a growing criticism of this order intending to change the union territory’s demographic identity.
  • The natives of Jammu and Kashmir, for many years, have been marginalised due to the lack of strong political structure.
  • This makes them less competitive with the outsiders, forcing them to give up their jobs and lands, bringing forth demographic change within the region.

Conclusion:

It currently remains to be seen how these new domicile rules will be implemented in the troubled union territory, which has been witnessing violent conflicts and political uncertainties. A relook that provides for just competition for the natives and well as the new domiciles is a need of the hour. Furthermore, issues like central bureaucratic dominance, interference, corruption etc., need to be addressed during the implementation as these issues can worsen the mistrust and conflicts within the region.

Practice question for mains:

Critically examine the issues that the government may face while implementing the new domicile rules in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. (250 words)

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Chopel
Chopel
1 year ago

hello the date mentioned above says 15th April , but I open-end this article in relevance to august . is it an older month’s ca or is it the sum accumulation. Also you have put articles dating from 2018 in august 2020, so does it mean you are corroborating info over an extended period of time. thank you

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