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Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019

  May 23, 2020

Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019

How does it affect the erstwhile State of J&K?

The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 contains provisions to reorganise the State of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories, one to be called Jammu and Kashmir, and the other Ladakh on 31 October 2019.

The former will have a legislative assembly whereas Ladakh will be administered by a Lieutenant Governor alone. The Union Territory of Ladakh will include the districts of Leh and Kargil. All other districts will remain with Jammu and Kashmir.

Out of the six seats allocated to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, one will be allocated to Ladakh and the remaining five will remain with the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir will function as the High Court for both the Union Territories.

The Bill was passed by the Parliament on 6 August 2019 and assented to by the President of India on 9 August 2019.

Why did the President pass an Order before the Bill was introduced?

The introduction of the Bill was preceded by a Presidential Order under Article 370 of the Indian constitution declaring that all the provisions of the Indian Constitution would be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir. 

The 1954 Order had a proviso to the Article 3 of the Indian constitution, stating that the Union would not alter the area, name and the boundaries of the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Its revocation paved the way for the introduction of the Reorganisation Bill.

What is the governance structure of J&K?

The administration of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will be as per the Article 239 of the Constitution of India. The Article 239A, originally formulated for the Union Territory of Puducherry, will also be applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.

The Union Territory will be administered by a Lieutenant Governor appointed by the President of India. It will have a legislative assembly of 107 to 114 members, whose tenure will be five years. The legislative assembly may make laws for any of the matters in the State List except "public order" and "police", which will remain the preserve of the Union government.

A Council of Ministers including a Chief Minister will be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor from the membership of the legislative assembly. Their role will be to advise the Lieutenant Governor in the exercise of functions in matters under the jurisdiction of the legislative assembly. In other matters, the Lieutenant Governor is empowered to act in his own capacity. The Lieutenant Governor will also have the power to promulgate ordinances which will have the same force as the acts of the legislature