Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019
|Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019|
|Parliament of India|
|Citation||Act No. 34 of 2019|
|Considered by||Parliament of India|
|Enacted by||Rajya Sabha|
|Enacted||August 5, 2019|
|Enacted by||Lok Sabha|
|Enacted||August 6, 2019|
|Assented to||August 9, 2019|
|Signed||August 9, 2019|
|Signed by||Ram Nath Kovind |
President of India
|Effective||October 31, 2019|
|Bill citation||Bill No. XXIX of 2019|
|Bill published on||August 5, 2019|
|Introduced by||Amit Shah |
Minister of Home Affairs
|First reading||August 5, 2019|
|Second reading||August 6, 2019|
|Status: In force|
The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 is an act of the Parliament of India. It contains provisions to reconstitute the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir, a part of the larger region of Kashmir, which has been the subject of dispute among India, Pakistan, and China since 1947, into two Indian-administered union territories, one to be called Jammu and Kashmir, and the other Ladakh, on 31 October 2019. A bill for the act was introduced by the Minister of Home Affairs, Amit Shah, in the Rajya Sabha, on 5 August 2019. The bill was passed in Rajya Sabha the same day and was passed by the Lok Sabha on 6 August 2019. It received the President's assent on 9 August 2019.
Article 370 of the Indian constitution gave Jammu and Kashmir special status. In contrast to other states of India, Jammu and Kashmir had its own constitution and administrative autonomy. In particular, Indian citizens from other states could not purchase land or property in Jammu and Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir had three distinct areas: overwhelmingly Muslim-majority Kashmir (95% Muslim) with a population of nearly 7 million people, a Hindu-majority (66%) Jammu with a population of 5.35 million people and a 30% Muslim population, and Ladakh, which has sparse population of 287,000 people, a Muslim plurality, or relative minority, at 46%, a Buddhist minority at 40%. Violence and unrest persisted in the Indian-administered Muslim majority areas and, following a disputed state election in 1987, an insurgency persisted in protest over autonomy and rights. The Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in the 2014 Indian general election and had included in their 2019 election manifesto the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India.
Prior to the introduction of the bill and the revocation of the state's special status, the central government locked down the Kashmir valley, with a surge in security forces, imposition of Section 144 preventing assembly, and placing political leaders under house arrest. The State had been first under Governor's rule and then under President's rule since 20 June 2018, after the coalition government headed by Mehbooba Mufti lost support from the Bharatiya Janta Party. 35,000 paramilitary troops were deployed to Indian-administered Kashmir, prior to which a warning was issued to annual Hindu pilgrims and tourists citing a terror threat and imminent attacks by militants. The imposing of restrictions included the blocking of internet and phone services. Politicians, such as former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were put under house arrest. The moves were followed by the revocation of the state's special status without the consent of the state legislature, which had ceased to exist owing to President's rule in the state. Many of the Kashmiris who are affected by that decision are under a communication blackout imposed by the ongoing security lockdown.
The act reorganises the state into two union territories, namely the eponymous union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and that of Ladakh. While the former will have a legislative assembly, Ladakh will be administered by a lieutenant governor alone. The union territory of Ladakh will include the districts of Leh and Kargil, while all other districts will be accorded to Jammu and Kashmir. Out of the six Lok Sabha seats allocated to the state of Jammu and Kashmir, one will be allocated to Ladakh and five will be accorded to the Jammu and Kashmir union territory. The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir will function as the High Court for both the union territories.
The act provides that the administration of the Jammu and Kashmir will be as per Article 239A of the Indian constitution. Article 239A, originally formulated for the union territory of Puduchery, will also be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir. A lieutenant governor appointed by the president will administer the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, which will have a legislative assembly of 107 to 114 members, with a tenure of five years. The legislative assembly may make laws for any of the matters in the state list except "public order" and "police", which will remain as the law-making powers of the union government. A Council of Ministers including a Chief Minister will be appointed by the lieutenant governor from the members of the legislative assembly, with the role to advise the lieutenant governor in the exercise of functions in matters under the legislative assembly's jurisdiction. In other matters, the lieutenant governor is empowered to act in his own capacity, who will also have the power to promulgate ordinances having the same force as acts enacted by the legislature.
The bill was introduced by the Minister of Home Affairs Amit Shah in the Rajya Sabha on 5 August 2019. The introduction of the bill was preceded by a Presidential Order under the Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which superseded the 1954 Presidential Order. It made, inter alia, all the provisions of the Indian constitution applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.[a] The 1954 Order had a proviso to the Article 3 of the Indian constitution, stating that the Union would not alter the area, name and the boundaries of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Its revocation paved the way for the introduction of the Reorganisation Bill.
The bill caused pandemonium in the Rajya Sabha. Two members of the Jammu and Kashmir People's Democratic Party (PDP) tore up copies of the Indian constitution in protest, following which they were suspended from the House; 13 members of the Trinamool Congress walked out of the House; and 6 members of Janata Dal United (allied to the ruling BJP) boycotted the voting. However, the bill acquired the support of Bahujan Samaj Party, YSR Congress, Telugu Desam Party and the Aam Aadmi Party. Along with the 107 members of the ruling National Democratic Alliance, the number of supporting parliamentarians totalled to 117. The bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha with 125 members in favour and 61 members against.
The Bill was introduced in the lower house of Indian parliament, Lok Sabha on 6 August 2019. The All India Trinamool Congress and Janata Dal (United) walked out from the house, while Indian National Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Samajwadi Party opposed the bill; Bharatiya Janata Party, Shiv Sena, Biju Janata Dal, YSR Congress Party, Telangana Rashtra Samithi, Telugu Desam Party, Shiromani Akali Dal and Bahujan Samaj Party supported it. The bill was passed by the house with 370 votes in favour and 70 votes against.
Assent and publication
The bill received the assent of the president on 9 August 2019, subsequent to which it was published in the Gazette of India. A notification published on the same day provides for the union territories to come into effect from 31 October 2019.
- People's Republic of China—On 31 October 2019, the Chinese Foreign ministry said that India’s decision to unilaterally change its domestic laws and administrative divisions is void, illegal and will not affect “the fact that the area is under Chinese actual control”. Reacting to these statements, India said that this matter is completely internal to India and it expects other countries, including China, to refrain from commenting on this. India added that China has illegally occupied its territory.
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