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Jammu & Kashmir Reservation Amendment, 2019

The Jammu and Kashmir Act, 2004 states that whose annual income exceeds rupees three Lakh would not be included within socially and educationally backward classes. It does not apply to persons living in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Control.  According to the amended bill, this exclusion will not be applied to persons who live in areas adjoining to the International Border.  

By: Nasheet Hamdulay, 1st Year (3 Year L.L.B.), ILS Law College, Pune.

“Passage of Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill ensures justice for those living in the border areas of Kathua, Samba & Jammu districts. The aspirations of the bright and talented youth of these areas will be fulfilled, which is wonderful for the state and our nation.”

-PM Narendra Modi 

Background:

Since times immemorial, there has been constant tension alongside the international borders. Persons living in the areas adjoining the borders have suffered from socio-economic and educational backwardness. There have been persistent demands from these citizens to bring themselves at par with those staying around the actual line of control. 

What does the Act suggest?

The Bill amends the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 and replaces an Ordinance promulgated on March 1, 2019. The Act provides for reservation in appointment and promotions in certain state government posts to persons belonging to socially and educationally backward classes.  Socially and educationally backward classes have been redefined to include persons living in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Control (ALOC).  The Bill amends this to include those persons living in areas adjoining the International Border, within the ambit of this reservation. The bill talked about a 10% reservation quota for the (EWS) Economically Weaker Section. India introduced the 10% reservation for EWS in January 2019. 

What is the Act inclusive of?

The Act provides for reservation in appointment and promotions in state government posts, and admission to professional institutions for certain reserved categories.  Professional institutions include government medical colleges, dental colleges, and polytechnics.

The Act provides for reservation in appointment and promotions in state government posts, and admission to professional institutions for certain reserved categories. 

Further, the Act states that any person who has been appointed on the basis of residence in an area adjoining the Line of Control must serve in such areas for at least seven years.  The Bill extends this condition to persons living in areas adjoining the International Border as well.

What does the Act exclude?

The Act suggests that any and every person whose annual income exceeds three lakh rupees or other amounts as notified by the state government, would not be included within the ambit of socially and educationally backward classes.  However, this exclusion does not apply to persons living in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Control.  Furthermore, this exclusion will not apply to persons living in areas adjoining the International Border also. 

The Act suggests that any and every person whose annual income exceeds three lakh rupees or other amounts as notified by the state government, would not be included within the ambit of socially and educationally backward classes. 

Reason for Withdrawal:

With the abrogation of section 370, all the laws applicable to the rest of the country were now naturally applicable to Jammu, Kashmir & Ladakh as well. The provisions were annulled and the government had to quash the Bill. 

Counterblow:

This particular move received a lot of backlash from the opposition calling it “unconstitutional”. Moreover, extending the presidents rule would further alienate the citizens. The word ‘concurrence’ mentioned under section 370 of the Indian Constitution said that ‘concurrence’ means the concurrence of an elected government and not that of a nominated government. The President cannot seek the concurrence of “Governor” because Governor is a representative of the President. 

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