Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh come into being

Infographics: Reorganisation of J&K. (IANS Infographics)

New Delhi (IANS): It is a historic Thursday as two new Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh came into being, putting into effect the reorganization of the erstwhile state.

The implementation of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which got the President’s assent on August 9, means the special status enjoyed by Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 comes to an end after 72 years.

The landmark bill to abolish special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories was moved in Parliament on August 5 and passed the next day by both Houses, amidst much uproar.

According to the Act, the UT of J&K will have a legislature while the UT of Ladakh will have no legislature.

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led BJP government on August 5 had announced the abrogation of Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and had also announced the bifurcation of the state, paving the way for two new Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Lauding Sardar Patel’s efforts to unify India, Modi dedicated the “big decision” to Sardar Patel, who he claimed would not have taken so long to resolve the Kashmir issue, if he was allowed to tackle it.

“Sardar Patel had once said that if the issue of Kashmir had remained with him, it would not have taken so long to resolve it. On his birth anniversary today, I dedicate the decision to remove Article 370, to Sardar Saheb,” Modi said.

“For decades, this Article 370 had created a temporary wall among us Indians. Our brothers and sisters who were on the other side of this temporary wall also lived in confusion. The wall which was increasing separatism and terrorism in Kashmir, now it has fallen,” he added.

The Congress on Thursday took a swipe at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government soon after Jammu and Kashmir ceased to be a state, saying that the “multicultural crown” of the country has been “dismembered” for ideological reasons.

“Multicultural crown of India – J&K has been dismembered for ideological reasons. Hindu Jammu, Muslim Kashmir and Buddhist Ladakh fused into one entity represented quintessence of idea of India.

“The BJP government 72-years post partition validates Two Nation Theory today defeating purpose of accession,” Congress leader Manish Tewari tweeted on Thursday.

Senior IAS officer Girish Chandra Murmu, who will be the first Lt Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, arrived in Srinagar on Wednesday to take charge of his new responsibility on Thursday.

He will be administered the oath of office by J&K High Court’s Chief Justice Gita Mittal.

The 1985-batch IAS officer of Gujarat cadre is seen as a close confidante of Prime Minister Modi, having been his Principal Secretary when Modi was Gujarat Chief Minister.

Radha Krishna Mathur, was on Thursday morning administered the oath as the first Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory of Ladakh.

The swearing in ceremony was held at the Sindhu Sanskriti Auditorium, in Tisuru Leh, at 7.30 a.m.

The oath was administered by Chief Justice Mittal at a simple function.

As per the Act, the respective UTs will have Lieutenant Governor as administrator who will be appointed by the President of India. The tenure will be determined by the President.

The First Schedule to the Constitution, under the heading “THE STATES” shall be deleted and entries from 16 to 29 shall be renumbered as 15 to 28 under the heading “UNION TERRITORIES”.

Four sitting members of the Council of States representing the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir shall be deemed to have been elected to fill the seats allotted to the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The term of office of such sitting members shall remain unaltered.

There shall be allocated five seats to the successor Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and one seat to Union territory of Ladakh, in the House of the People, and the First Schedule to the Representation of the People Act, 1950 (43 of 1950) shall be deemed to be amended accordingly.

The Delimitation of Parliamentary Constituencies Order, 1976 shall stand amended as directed in the Second Schedule of the Act. The Election Commission may conduct the elections to the House of the People for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir as per the allocation of seats specified in the Delimitation of Parliamentary Constituencies Order, 1976 as amended by this Act.

Every sitting member of the House of the People representing a constituency which, on the appointed day by virtue of the provisions of section 10, stands allotted, with or without alteration of boundaries, to the successor Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir or Union territory of Ladakh, as the case may be, shall be deemed to have been elected to the House of the People by that constituency as so allotted.

The term of office of such sitting members shall remain unaltered.

The provisions which are applicable to “Union territory of Puducherry” shall also apply to the “Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

There shall be a Legislative Assembly for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir to be filled by persons chosen by direct election shall be 107.

Twenty four seats in the Legislative Assembly of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall remain vacant and shall not be taken into account for reckoning the total membership of the Assembly; and the said area and seats shall be excluded in delimiting the territorial constituencies.

The Delimitation of Assembly Constituencies Order, 1995, as applicable to Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, shall stand amended.

Seats shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The number of seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir under sub-section (6) shall bear, as nearly as may be, the same proportion to the total number of seats in the Assembly as the population of the Scheduled Castes in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir or of the Scheduled Tribes in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, in respect of which seats are reserved, bears to the total population of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Lieutenant Governor of the successor Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir may nominate two members to the Legislative Assembly to give representation to women, if in his opinion, women are not adequately represented in the Legislative Assembly.

There shall be a Council of Ministers consisting of not more than ten percent of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly, with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Lieutenant Governor in the exercise of his functions in relation to matters with respect to which the Legislative Assembly has the power to make laws except in so far as he is required by or under this Act to act in his discretion or by or under any law to exercise any judicial or quasi-judicial functions.

The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister. The Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Lieutenant Governor and the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly.

Before a Minister enters upon his office, the Lieutenant Governor shall administer to him the oaths of office and of secrecy according to the forms set out for the purpose in the Fourth Schedule.

On the abolition of the Legislative Council, every member thereof shall cease to be such members. All Bills pending in the Legislative Council immediately before the appointed day shall lapse on the abolition of the Council.

The President may make regulations for the peace, progress and good government of the Union territory of Ladakh under article 240 of the Constitution of India. Any regulation so made may repeal or amend any Act made by Parliament or any other law which is for the time being applicable to the Union territory of Ladakh and, when promulgated by the President, shall have the same force and effect as an Act of Parliament which applies to the Union territory of Ladakh.

The Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh shall be assisted by advisor(s) to be appointed by the Central Government.

The number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be increased from 107 to 114, and delimitation of the constituencies may be determined by the Election Commission.

The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir shall be the common High Court for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh.

The Judges of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir for the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir holding office immediately before the appointed day shall become on that day the Judges of the High Court.

The expenditure in respect of salaries and allowances of the Judges of the common High Court shall be allocated amongst the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh on the basis of population ratio.

The members of the cadres of Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service for the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir, on and from the appointed day, shall continue to function on the existing cadres.