New domicile rules have given new hope to the community and are watershed development with regard to doing justice with a displaced population of Kashmir Valley.
By notifying Jammu and Kashmir grant of Domicile certificate (Procedure) Rules, 2020, the government of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir has once again set the stage for another round of showdown between the mainstream political parties from two distinct regions.
In one stroke, the government has made all left-out PoK refugee families who had settled outside J&K after migration in 1947 during partition and Kashmiri Pandit migrants residing in different parts of the country, eligible for domicile certificates of the Union Territory.
Kashmir based political parties have always opposed the grant of domicile certificate or citizenship rights to PoK refugees settled outside Jammu and Kashmir and west Pakistani refugees settled across the Jammu region.
Leaders of Jammu and Kashmir National Conference including its Vice President Omar Abdullah, who is proactive on social media, maintained a stoic silence and has not responded to the crucial development so far.
Immediately after the government spokesman, Rohit Kansal made an announcement at a press conference in Jammu on Monday, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) went public with its response.
PDP spokesman posted a series of tweets from their official handle.
“The demographic change and disenfranchisement will further complicate the J&K issue which has claimed thousands of lives so far. This will be resisted through all democratic, peaceful means,” PDP spokesman tweeted.
The demographic change and disenfranchisement will further complicate the J&K issue which has claimed thousands of lives so far . This will be resisted through all democratic, peaceful means.
— J&K PDP (@jkpdp) May 18, 2020
“Even a pandemic is no deterrent for the GOI to continue with its disempowerment project for JK. Orders like the one on domicile certificates don’t settle anything, neither do they cover up the August 5, fraud.”
Even a pandemic is no deterrent for the GOI to continue with its disempowerment project for JK. Orders like the one on domicile certificates don’t settle anything, neither do they cover up the August 5, fraud.
— J&K PDP (@jkpdp) May 18, 2020
In a statement released to the press, the party said it has asked the Government of India to immediately revoke the domicile order and procedure as these measures will widen the gulf between the people of Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of the country and add to alienation. It has also stated that both the S.O 1229 (E) domicile law and S.O 166 prescribing the procedure for grant of domicile certificate are made in exercise of power under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act 2019, challenged in a number of petitions before the Supreme Court, the hearing before the Constitution Bench has commenced and is proceeding ahead.
It is stated that the National Conference has taken a principled stand on the floor of the Parliament and outside that the decisions of August 5, 2019, taking away special status and constitutional guarantees available to Jammu and Kashmir and dividing and downgrading the state is unconstitutional, unilateral as also against the federalism, the basic structure of the Constitution. The party has pleaded these grounds before the court. The post 5th August events in Jammu and Kashmir also indicate massive public disapproval of the decisions in all the three regions.
Under Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir had a separate constitution, while Article 35A prohibited people from outside the state from buying a property in Jammu and Kashmir and ensuring job reservation for permanent residents.
The statement adds the domicile order, as well as procedure, are anti-people as not only because these are ambiguous and misleading opening flood gates but these would push people with valid state subject certificates to uncertainty and hardship as the benefits would not be available unless they obtain domicile certificates under the rules.
Who will be eligible for domicile certificate?
Those who will be eligible for being domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir also included Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) holders, children of persons possessing PRC, those who have resided for a period of 15 years in the UT of J&K, children of a person who has resided for a period of 15 years in the UT of J&K, a person who has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in Classes 10th and 12th examination in an educational institution located in the UT, migrants, children of migrants, children of Central Government officials, All India Service Officers, officials of Public Sector Undertakings, Autonomous bodies of Central Government, Public Sector Banks, officials of statutory bodies, officials of Central Universities and recognized Research Institutes of Central Government who shall have served in J&K for a total period of 10 years and children of such residents of UT of J&K residing outside UT in connection with their employment or business or other professional or vocational reasons.
Others who have become eligible for domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir included West Pakistan refugees, who were not allowed the benefit of government jobs earlier. They were part of the parliamentary electoral roll but not erstwhile state electoral roll. They will now be covered under the 15-year residence rule or their children under the 7 years/Class 10th and 12th rule. The ‘Safai Karamcharis‘ will also be eligible for domiciles under similar categories. Women (erstwhile) resident married to non-residents were also not eligible so far and will now be entitled under the PRC/Children/Residency rules.
Domicile certificate to be processed within 15 days: Govt
The rules provide a time-bound procedure for the issuance of the domicile certificate so that no one is put to any inconvenience. There shall be a timeline of 15 days for issuance of the certificate after which the applicant shall be free to approach an appellate authority.
The decision of the appellate authority shall be binding upon the issuing authority and the orders of the appellate authority are to be complied within seven days, failing which the defaulting officer shall be liable for a penalty of Rs 50,000 out of his salary. The appellate authorities will also have revisional powers. They can either suo moto or on through an application made, call for records, check the legality of any proceedings and pass appropriate orders in reference, the government order said.
Before notifying the domicile rules, the BJP led Union government had notified a law, spelling out new domicile rules for Jammu and Kashmir and eligibility for employment in the region. Under the law, the domiciles have been defined as those who have resided for a period of 15 years in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, those who have studied for a period of seven years and appeared in Class 10th/12th examination in educational institutions located in J&K. The government had also reserved jobs for the fourth class government position for domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir.
Later, after opposition from Jammu, the Centre government on April 3 brought an amendment, leaving government jobs reserved for J&K domicile. Before August 5, when Article 370 and Article 35A of the Indian constitution were in vogue, all jobs in the erstwhile state of J&K were exclusively reserved for permanent residents of the State. Under Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir had a separate constitution, while Article 35A prohibited people from outside the state from buying a property in Jammu and Kashmir and ensuring job reservation for permanent residents.
PoK refugees will benefit
5300 families from PoK who had settled across different parts of the country after partition will be treated as domiciles of Jammu and Kashmir. According to official sources, an estimated number of about 32,000 families had migrated from Pak occupied area of Jammu Kashmir to this part of the country following Pakistani aggression in 1947. Among these displaced people, 22,700 families were settled on agricultural land in the Jammu region and 3,600 families in urban areas of J&K, mostly in Jammu, Samba, Kathua, Udhampur, and Nowshera.
However, 5300 such families were settled in other parts of the country and have been residing there for decades. Even as members of these families were eligible for the Permanent State Subject (PRC) for their members for being original inhabitants of J&K, they never applied for the same as no such requirement was ever felt by them. All these families can now apply for a domicile certificate in Jammu and Kashmir as per the due procedure mentioned in the rules.
Red letter Day in real sense for the entire Kashmiri Pandit community as they now feel connected and their sentiments respected by the present central government lead by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The Kashmiri Pandits who had left Jammu and Kashmir and were residing in other parts of the country will also be eligible for the domicile of the Union Territory. Apart from migrants registered with Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrants) in J&K, the government has ordered that other bonafide persons, displaced persons or migrants and their descendants who are not registered with the Commissioner in the UT and may have been left out for a variety of reasons such as being outside J&K, not having been able to register in the past or being registered as migrants with government elsewhere due to circumstances beyond their control, can register themselves for the purpose of getting domicile certificate only, the government order said.
“The Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrant), Jammu and Kashmir, will be the competent authority for the purpose of registration of displaced persons besides Kashmiri migrants for the purpose of issuance of domicile certificates,’’ the order said and listed seven documents, any of which will make them eligible for domicile certificates.
The Kashmiri migrants already registered with the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrant) for relief or non-relief purposes are not required to register again for issuance of domicile certificates. Others have been given the opportunity of registration for the purpose of a domicile certificate for a period of one year.
The rules have a provision that applications for grant of domicile certificate can be submitted either physically or electronically online. The competent authority can also issue a domicile certificate(s) electronically.
Permanent Residents of the erstwhile State of J&K in whose favour Permanent Resident Certificate (PRC) has been issued by the competent authority before Oct 31, 2019, shall be eligible for receiving their domicile certificates on the basis of PRCs alone and no other additional document shall be required for such residents.
Red letter day for Migrant Kashmiri Pandits: APMCC
Terming the developments regarding the amendments in domicile law of J&K as a Red Letter Day for entire Kashmiri Pandit community All Parties Migrants Coordination Committee (APMCC) has expressed its immense pleasure and has thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu and all those associated with backchannel engagements silently to make this happen.
In a statement issued here Vinod Pandit, Chairman APMCC has said that it was a Red letter Day in real sense for the entire Kashmiri Pandit community as they now feel connected and their sentiments respected by the present central government lead by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
It is a historic decision for the displaced people of Jammu and Kashmir since the rule of last ruling king as now KPs who have left the Valley from 14th May 1944 onwards are eligible for domicile certificate, said Vinod Pandit while reacting to the development.
APMCC National spokesperson and senior journalist King C Bharati said that “although there have been several migrations of Kashmiri Pandits (KPs) in wake of continuous genocide for last over 700 years, this step is a real healing touch to the displaced Hindu population of Jammu and Kashmir and the decision to grant domicile to the displaced people including Kashmiri migrants since 1944 has given new hope to the community and is watershed development with regard to doing justice with a displaced population of Kashmir Valley.”
Government notification attached below:
1. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.