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J&K throws open local real estate to all citizens

Context:

The Centre and the Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory governments, at the first ever ‘J&K Real Estate Conference’ held in Jammu have decided to throw open local real estate for “second homes and summer homes” to all the citizens of the country, in a major push to attract investments from real estate bigwigs.

 

Relevance:

GS-II: Polity and Constitution

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Changes in land laws of Jammu and Kashmir UT in 2021
  2. Details of the J&K Development Act, 2020
  3. Back to Basics – History: Accession of J&K to India
  4. Land Reforms in Kashmir
  5. Impact of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019

Changes in land laws of Jammu and Kashmir UT in 2021

  • The administration of J&K UT undertook a series of changes in the land laws in 2021, including using private land for industrial purposes and converting agriculture land for developmental projects.
  • In October 2020, the Centre notified ‘Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020′, which states that any Indian citizen can now buy land in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) without being a domicile.
  • The Jammu and Kashmir government has signed 39 Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the National Real Estate Development Council “to boost employment and per capita income”.
  • Reacting sharply to the real estate policy, Jammu and Kashmir regional parties, including the National Conference (NC), the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the J&K Apni Party alleged “bid to change Jammu and Kashmir’s demography.”

Details of the J&K Development Act, 2020

  • Under the newly introduced J&K Development Act, the term “being permanent resident of the State” as a criterion has been “omitted”, paving the way for investors outside J&K to invest in the UT.
  • The Centre has been arguing that Article 370 hampered development in the U.T. as investors were unable to purchase land prior to August 5, 2019.
  • The Centre is likely to notify separate land laws for the UT of Ladakh soon.
  • Under a new provision, an Army officer not below the rank of Corps Commander can declare an area as “Strategic Area” within a local area, only for direct operational and training requirements of the armed forces.
  • Prior to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act Indian citizens from other states could not purchase land or property in Jammu and Kashmir.

Back to Basics – History: Accession of J&K to India

  • Jammu and Kashmir was one among the 565 princely states of India on which the British paramountcy lapsed at the stroke of midnight on 15th August 1947 under the Partition Plan provided by the Indian Independence Act.
  • The rulers of princely states were given an option to join either India or Pakistan. The ruler of Kashmir Maharaja Hari Singh did not exercise the option immediately. He instead offered a proposal of standstill agreement to both India and Pakistan, pending the final decision on the state’s accession.
  • Pakistan entered into the standstill agreement but it invaded the Kashmir from north with an army of soldiers and tribesmen carrying modern weapons. In the early hours of 24th October, 1947, thousands of tribal Pathan swept into Kashmir.
  • The Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir appealed to India for help. He sent his representative Sheikh Abdullah to Delhi to ask for India’s help.
  • On 26th October 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh fled from Srinagar and arrived in Jammu where he signed an ‘Instrument of Accession’ of J&K state.
  • According to the terms of the document, the Indian Jurisdiction would extend to external affairs, communications and defence. After the document was signed, Indian troops were airlifted into the state and fought alongside the Kashmiris.
  • In 1948, Maharaja Hari Singh announced the formation of an interim popular government with Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah as the Prime Minister.
  • Subsequently, the Maharaja signed a proclamation making Yuvraj Karan Singh as Regent.

Delhi Agreement

  • In 1951, the state constituent assembly was elected. It met for the first time in Srinagar on 31st October 1951.
  • In 1952, The Delhi Agreement was signed between Prime Ministers of India and Jammu & Kashmir giving special position to the state under Indian Constitutional framework.
  • On 6th February 1954, the J&K constituent assembly ratified the accession of the state to the Union of India.
  • The President subsequently issued the constitution order under Article 370 of the Constitution extending the Union Constitution to the state with some exceptions and modifications.

Land Reforms in Kashmir

  • The Kashmir Valley had a history of cruel exploitation of tillers through the periods of Afghan, Sikh and Dogra rule.
  • The Sheikh Abdullah’s government brought the Big Landed Estates Abolition Act, in 1950, through a slogan land to the tiller.
  • The Act placed a ceiling on land ownership at 186 kanals (about 22 acres).
  • The rest of the land of a landlord was redistributed among share-croppers and landless labourers, without any compensation to the landlord.
  • This led to most radical land reform anywhere in the world outside the Communist bloc. It brought a social transformation that has few parallels. It ended landlordism in J&K and paved the way for rural prosperity.
  • This land reform was so popular in Kashmir that it continued to be pushed for the next quarter-century. The ceiling was gradually decreased until the last of the reform Acts in 1975.

Impact of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019

  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, provided for reorganisation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union Territory of Ladakh.
  • The Bill reorganised the state of Jammu and Kashmir into:
  • the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir with a legislature, and
  • the Union Territory of Ladakh without a legislature.
  • The Union Territory of Ladakh comprises of Kargil and Leh districts, and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir comprises of the remaining territories of the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is administered by the President, through an administrator appointed by him known as the Lieutenant Governor.
  • The Union Territory of Ladakh is also administered by the President, through a Lieutenant Governor appointed by him.
  • The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir is the common High Court for the Union Territories of Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir.  Further, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir was provided to have an Advocate General to provide legal advice to the government of the Union Territory.
  • The Legislative Council of the state of Jammu and Kashmir were abolished.  Upon dissolution, all Bills pending in the Council lapsed.

-Source: The Hindu

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