4 Bills restructuring reservation; LA representation in J&K introduced in Lok Sabha

J&K Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill proposes nomination of 2 Kashmiri migrants, 1 PoJK DP; 9 reserved seats for STs in J&K Legislative Assembly ST status proposed for Pahari ethnic group; Koli, Paddari, Gadda Brahmins Valmikis to be included in SCs of J&K OSCs to be replaced with OBCs

112

GK NEWS

The Union government Wednesday introduced four very crucial bills in the Lower House of Parliament, aimed at expanding and restructuring J&K reservation laws and representation in its Legislative Assembly (LA), with a potential to impact all stakeholders socially and politically.

These Bills included “The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023”; “The Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023”; “The Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Castes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023” and “The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023.”

They were introduced by the concerned Union ministers amid ruckus over Manipur violence in the Lok Sabha.

The Bills, being dubbed by the government of the day as a step forward to meet its commitment to the prospective beneficiaries (of Bills), are critical in nature and scope, given existing apprehensions and reservations about them, among some agitating stakeholders. But the beneficiaries are forming a ‘rejoicing block.’

Significance of the Bills lies in the fact that they have been moved months ahead of the crucial general elections. Besides, going by official statements, J&K Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies’ elections too are round the corner.

It was not without reason that the Union Home Minister accompanied by the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and BJP national general secretary and in-charge J&K Tarun Chugh, had held separate meetings in New Delhi with the delegations of Gujjar-Bakerwals and Pahari community to soothe frayed nerves and address their misgivings, just hours before the introduction of these bills, two of which pertained to them (Gujjars-Bakerwals & Paharis).

Objective was mainly to reassure Gujjars and Bakerwals that their existing 10 percent reservation would not be tinkered with, as committed by the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister even earlier.

Besides, “The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023” has also created murmurs in the political circles of J&K, clearly indicating the churning these Bills will evoke in the days to come.

REPRESENTATION TO KASHMIRI MIGRANTS, DPs FROM POJK & STs IN J&K LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

“The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023” introduced by the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai on behalf of the Union Home Minister Amit Shah proposed amendment in the “The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 (34 of 2019)” to provide representation to “Kashmiri Migrants”, “Displaced Persons from Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir” and Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir so as to preserve their political rights as well as for their overall social and economic development.

It provides to insert new sections 15A and 15B in the Act so as to “nominate not more than two members, one of whom shall be a woman, from the community of “Kashmiri migrants” and one Member from “Displaced Persons from Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir”, to the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir; and (ii) amendments to sub-sections (3) and (10) of section 14 of the Act which are of consequential in view of completion of delimitation process in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

On completion of the delimitation process, the Delimitation Commission had published orders with regard to the delimitation of the Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

As per these orders, the number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir 4 has been increased from 107 to 114 with reservation of nine seats for Scheduled Tribes for the first time.

This explained the requirement of consequential amendments in sub-sections (3) and (10) of section 14 of the Act.

The statement of Objects and Reasons explained that the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 (34 of 2019) (the Act) was enacted with a view to provide for the reorganisation of the State of Jammu and Kashmir and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.

It stated that at the time of the militancy in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir in the late eighties, particularly in Kashmir (Division) in 1989-90, a large number of people migrated from their ancestral places of residence, in Kashmir province particularly the Kashmiri Hindus and Pandits along with few families belonging to Sikh and Muslim communities. Initially all the migrants were moved to Jammu. Later on, some migrants chose to go to other parts of the country, namely Delhi, Bengaluru and Pune.

As per the data available with Government of Jammu and Kashmir, there are currently forty-six thousand five hundred and seventeen families having one lakh fifty-eight thousand nine hundred and seventy-six persons registered with the Relief Organisation of the Government of Jammu and Kashmir who have got registered over a period of last three decades.

In the wake of the 1947 Pakistani aggression in Jammu and Kashmir, thirty-one thousand seven hundred and seventy-nine families migrated from Pakistan occupied areas of Jammu and Kashmir to the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir. Of these, twenty-six thousand three hundred and nineteen families settled in the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir and remaining five thousand four hundred and sixty families moved out of the Jammu and Kashmir to other parts of the country. Further, during the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971, ten thousand and sixty-five more families were displaced from Chhamb Niabat area. Of these, three thousand and five hundred families were displaced during the 1965 war and six thousand five hundred and sixty-five families were displaced during the 1971 war. As such, a total of forty-one thousand eight hundred and forty-four families were displaced during 1947-48, 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars.

“The Delimitation Commission, while undertaking the delimitation process of Assembly and Parliamentary Constituencies in the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, received many representations from the “Kashmiri Migrants” and also “Displaced Persons from Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir” regarding reservation of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir to preserve their political rights and identity. The Delimitation Commission, after considering the matter in depth, recommended for representation of communities of “Kashmiri Migrants” and “Displaced Persons from Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir” in the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir by way of nomination,” the statement mentioned.

“As per sub-section (4) of section 14 of the Act, twenty-four seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir have been reserved for the people residing in the area of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir under illegal occupation of Pakistan. The said seats shall remain vacant until the area under the occupation of Pakistan ceases to be so occupied and the people residing in that area elect their representatives. The representation of the “Kashmiri Migrants” and “Displaced Persons from Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir” in the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be given on lines of section 15 of the Act, which provides for the representation of women,” it added.

PAHARI ETHNIC GROUP. KOLI, PADDARI, GADDA BRAHMINS TO GET ST STATUS

“The Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023” introduced by the Minister of Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda proposed to amend the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1989, to include the communities of “Gadda Brahmin”, “Koli”, “Paddari Tribe” and “Pahari Ethnic Group” in the list of Scheduled Tribes in respect of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

The statement of Objects and Reasons spelt out that in accordance with the constitutional provisions, the first list of Scheduled Tribes in respect of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir was notified vide the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1989. This list of Scheduled Tribes was amended vide the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Act, 1991.

By virtue of the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, this list of Scheduled Tribes, presently applies to both the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and the Union Territory of Ladakh.

“The administration of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has requested to include the communities of “Gadda Brahmin”, “Koli”, “Paddari Tribe” and “Pahari Ethnic Group” in the list of Scheduled Tribes in respect of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. On the basis of the recommendation of the administration of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and after consultation with the Registrar General of India and the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes, it is proposed to amend the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order, 1989,” the statement added.

Following passage of Bill, the list of STs in J&K will include Bakarwal; Balti; Beda; Bot, Boto; Brokpa, Drokpa, Dard, Shin; Changpa; Gadda Brahmin; Gaddi; Garra; Gujjar; Koli; Mon; Paddari Tribe; Pahari Ethnic Group; Purigpa and Sippi.

VALMIKIS TO BE INCLUDED IN LIST OF SCHEDULED CASTES OF J&K

“The Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Castes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023”, introduced by Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Dr Virendra Kumar, proposes to include Valmiki (in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir only) along with Chura, Bhangi, Balmiki, Mehtar” in the Schedule to the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Castes Order, 1956.

As per the statement of Objects and Reasons, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has recommended for inclusion of Valmiki community as a synonym of Chura, Bhangi, Balmiki, Mehtar at Serial Number 5 in the list of Scheduled Castes of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

“On the basis of the recommendation of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, it is proposed to modify the list of Scheduled Castes in respect of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir by amending the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Castes Order, 1956. It proposes to amend the Schedule of the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Castes Order, 1956 for inclusion of Valmiki (in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir only) in entry 5,” it added.

As regard the Financial memorandum, in case of both the Bills related to SCs and STs, it has been stated that they will entail some additional recurring and non-recurring expenditure on account of benefits of schemes meant for development of the Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes to which the persons belonging to the newly added community will become entitled, as a result (of these Bills).

“It is not possible to estimate the likely expenditure to be incurred on this account at this stage. However, the expenditure, if any, shall be accommodated within the approved budgetary outlay of the government,” it further stated.

OTHER SOCIAL CASTES (OSC) TO BE REPLACED WITH OTHER BACKWARD CLASSES (OBC)

“The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023”, introduced by the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai on behalf of the Union Home Minister Amit Shah, proposed to amend section 2 of the Reservation Act by the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023 so as to change the nomenclature of “Weak and under privileged classes (social castes)” occurring in sub-clause (iii) of clause (o), to “other backward classes” and to make consequential amendment in clause (q), of section 2 of the said Act.

As per the statement of Objects and Reasons, these amendments have been proposed on the recommendations of the Jammu and Kashmir Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Commission (SEBCC), so as to remove the confusion amongst the general public as well as the competent authorities issuing certificates to eligible persons due to difference in such nomenclature. “The proposed amendment will also enable implementation of the Constitution (One Hundred and Fifth Amendment) Act, 2021, in letter and spirit,” it added.

Presently, in J&K, OSCs get 4 percent reservation in J&K but there is no provision of reservation for OBCs, who get 27 percent reservation at the national level.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here