Domicile law amended again: All jobs reserved for J&K domiciled residents

Srinagar, Apr 3: After its provisions on reserving only low-rung jobs for the people of J&K received widespread flak, the Ministry of Home Affairs Friday amended the J&K Domicile law to reserve all jobs for the domiciles of the Union Territory.

The latest amendment comes four days after the Centre had redefined the domicile of J&K.

In an order passed late Friday, the MHA amended section 5A of The Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralization and Recruitment Act) replacing “a post carrying a pay scale of not more than Level-4 (25500)” with “any post”.

Besides in Section 8 of the Act, it added “is a domicile of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir” thus making it mandatory for a person to be a domicile of J&K to get any government job.

The new amendment comes close on the heels of a huge resentment brewing against the new law which had basically reserved only low rung jobs for the people of J&K.

On Mar 31, the MHA, through an order, had redefined the definition of domicile of Jammu and Kashmir through the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws).

According to it, anyone who has resided in J&K for 15 years or has studied in the state for seven years, and appeared in either the Class 10 or the Class 12 examination, will be eligible for domicile certificates. This would allow them to apply for gazetted and non-gazetted government jobs.  

As per the MHA notification, jobs only up to the lowest level of non-gazetted rank were exclusively reserved for the domiciles, which was eventually amended to cover “all jobs” on Friday.

“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,” read section 5A of The Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralization and Recruitment) Act.

Now after the amendment, the same section will be read as: “Subject to the provisions of this Act, no person shall be eligible for appointment to any post unless he is a domicile of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.”

Not just people in Kashmir and Jammu, the new domicile law had upset the Jammu unit of BJP too who had flagged their concern with the party leadership in Delhi including Home Minister Amit Shah.

It was the same clause in which only low-rung jobs were reserved for locals that had got the BJP wing worried, as most of their supporters in Jammu and the public in general found it “a cause of worry”.

In fact, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, as per a report in The Hindu Friday morning, considered the concerns of the Jammu BJP unit valid.

“There were issues that the Jammu unit of the party had flagged, and that their fears are valid,” Madhav was quoted telling The Hindu.

He also confirmed that Shah had been also been apprised of the concerns of the people of Jammu and he had assured that he would look into it.

“There are some issues with regard to the domicile notification that have been flagged, especially with regards to reserving jobs for locals, and to an extent these fears are valid,” Madhav had said.

J&K Apni Party president and former minister Altaf Bukhari too was in talks with top BJP leadership expressing his disappointment with the new law, especially after his last month meeting with PM Narendra Modi in which he was assured safeguard of domicile rights.

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About the Author

A journalist by chance with over five years of experience in reporting, editing, and bucketing local, national and international content for my current organization. I have covered education, health, politics, and human rights. I like working for a daily, though I occasionally try my pen in long-form to connect personal narratives with history.

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