J&K Domicile

Any person who has resided in Jammu and Kashmir for a period of 15 years will now be deemed as domicile of the union territory, the Central government stated in the latest gazette notification on Wednesday.

Over eight months after the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation the erstwhile state into two union territories, the government has issued new domicile laws for the residents.

J&K civil services (decentralisation and recruitment) Act defines a domiciled person as the one who has resided for a period of 15 years in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir or has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10 or 12 examination in an educational institution located in the UT. Prior to this, 35A of the Constitution of J&K empowered it to define a resident.

“Subject to the provisions of this Act, no person shall be eligible for appointment to a post carrying a pay scale of not more than Level-4 (Rs.25,500) unless he is a domicile of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir,” reads section 5A of The Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment) Act.

The level includes posts like junior assistant and constable, which is considered as the lowest category of non-gazetted posts. This means domiciles of J&K UT would have exclusive right on class-4 and non-gazetted posts to be advertised by the Services.

The domicile also includes children of central government officials, all India services officers, officials of public sector undertaking and autonomous body of central government, public sector banks, officials of statutory bodies, officials of central universities and recognised research institutes of central government who have served in Jammu and Kashmir for a total period of ten years.

“The law has empowered tehsildars within their territorial jurisdiction to issue domicile certificates The government of J&K UT has also been empowered to notify any other officer to be competent authority for issuance of domicile certificate,” order issued by the Union home ministry said.

Meanwhile, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah hit out at the Centre, calling the move insult heaped on injury and questioned the timing of a domicile notification as India fights to contain the infectious novel coronavirus outbreak.

“Talk about suspect timing. At a time when all our efforts and attention should be focused on containing COVID-19 outbreak, the government slips in a new domicile law for J&K. Insult is heaped on injury when we see the law offers none of the protections promised,” Abdullah tweeted.

“You can imagine how hollow the domicile law is from the fact that even the new party, created with Delhi’s blessings, whose leaders were lobbying in Delhi for this law, have been forced to criticize it,” he said.

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