Why in news?
- The Centre has notified a law under which jobs up to the lowest level of non-gazetted rank have been reserved for Jammu and Kashmir domiciles.
- This comes nearly seven months after the Central government abrogated Jammu and Kashmir’s special position and bifurcated it into two Union Territories — Jammu & Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Job eligibility under Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralization and Recruitment) Act
- Section 5A: Under the new law, jobs up to the lowest level of non-gazetted rank have been exclusively reserved for those who have resided in J&K for a period of 15 years, and children of all central government employees who have served for a 10-year period in the UT.
- 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 or have studied for a period of seven years and appeared in Class 10-12 examination in educational institutions located in J&K.
- The domiciles also include children of those central government officials, all India services officers, officials of public sector undertaking and autonomous body of the central government, public sector banks, officials of statutory bodies, officials of central universities and recognised research institutes of the central government who have served in J&K for a total period of ten years.
- “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 (25500) unless he is a domicile of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.”
- Level 4 includes posts including Junior Assistant, Constable, which is considered as the lowest category of non-gazetted posts.
- This means domiciles of J&K UT would have an exclusive right on class 4th and non-gazetted posts to be advertised by the services.
- All Indian citizens including J&K domiciles would be eligible for remaining non-gazetted and gazetted posts.
- Recruitment would be done by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
- 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 the competent authority for the issuance of a domicile certificate.
Other Provisions in the Notification
- The 31st March 2020 notification of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) makes changes to the Public Safety Act (PSA) by removing a clause that prohibited J&K residents booked under the Act to be lodged in jails outside.
- The notification scraps all pension benefits such as car, driver, accommodation, phones, electricity, medical facilities and rent-free accommodation to former J&K Chief Ministers.
- Before August 5, all jobs in the erstwhile state of J&K were exclusively reserved for permanent residents of the State.
- On August 6 last, the Centre revoked J&K’s special status under Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution and bifurcated it into J&K and Ladakh UTs.
What was the legal and constitutional status of Kashmir prior to the revocation of article 370?
- Article 370 of the Constitution of India is described as a “temporary provision” that grants the state of Jammu and Kashmir a special autonomous status within the Indian union.
- Under article 370(1)(b), the Union Parliament can only make laws for the state, “in consultation with the Government of the State,” on certain matters that were specified in the Instrument of Accession – namely defense, foreign affairs, and communications.
- Other matters in the legislative subject lists can apply to Jammu and Kashmir only with the “concurrence of the Government of the State” through a presidential order.
- Article 370(1)(d) stipulates that other constitutional provisions may be applied to the state from time to time, “subject to such modifications or exceptions” made by the president of India, also through a presidential order, as long as they do not fall within the matters referred to above and except with the concurrence of the state government.
- As a result of this status, the state of Jammu and Kashmir enacted its own Constitution, which was formally adopted by a Constituent Assembly on November 17, 1956, and entered into force on January 26, 1957.
- However, the most important part of article 370 for purposes of recent developments is article 370(3), which gives the president of India the power to amend or repeal article 370 itself through a public notification (declaring that this article “shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications”), provided that “the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the State” is given before the president issues such a notification.