Srinagar, Mar 1: Two main mainstream political parties of the state, the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, are mulling to move court against the Centre’s decision to extend the 77th and 103rd Amendments of the Indian Constitution to Jammu and Kashmir in the absence of an elected government in the state. The BJP-led government at the Centre on Thursday approved extension of two central constitutional amendments to Jammu and Kashmir on recommendations of Governor Satya Pal Malik for granting reservation in promotions and reservation for economically-weaker sections of the society. The union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the proposal to extend constitution 77th amendment (reservation in promotion for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes) and constitution 103rd amendment (reservation for economically-weaker sections of society) to J&K. Two former J&K ministers have questioned the Centre’s move in absence of an elected government in the state. National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah in a series of tweets, said: “Article 370 makes concurrence of Government of Jammu and Kashmir a condition precedent for extension of a Constitutional provision not falling under three subjects.” Omar said his party will consult eminent lawyers to explore how the decision can be challenged in the court of law. “The Government means an elected government. President cannot seek concurrence of Governor who is a representative or agent of President. Same will apply even where only consent is required,” the former chief minister tweeted. “It is for this reason that @JKNC_ will consult eminent lawyers tomorrow (Friday) to see how best we can challenge this blatantly unconstitutional order in court,” Omar added. Echoing similar views, Peoples Democratic Party, said the Union cabinet’s decision was in “contravention” of the spirit of Indian Constitution’s Article 370. “Governor Administration, which by design is interim arrangement, is stretching its mandate a bit too far. The concurrence of an elected, not nominated, government is a must for any amendment to the 1954 presidential order and thereby is in contravention to the spirit Art 370,” the party said. “Ostensibly, using the Governor’s office seems to be a sinister move to further disempower the state. This will not be tolerated & the entire state will fight against this criminal and illegal move of GoI,” PDP president Mehbooba Mufti tweeted. She questioned the intentions of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre asking why people of Kashmir were being “pushed to the wall”. “Why is GoI adamant on adding fuel to the fire and letting the situation slip out of control? Why push Kashmiris to the wall? PDP is willing to work with likeminded parties and people of the state to fight this battle tooth and nail in the courts,” the former chief minister said. While reacting to government decision, former finance minister and senior National Conference leader, Abdul Rahim Rather said it was a dangerous and blatant violation of Article 370 of the constitution. “We are not against the interests of the section of population sought to be benefitted through this amendment but the method adopted to achieve this goal is objectionable, unacceptable,” he said, in a statement. “Uniquely, the state of Jammu and Kashmir is the only one to have negotiated the terms of its membership of the Union.” He said that Parliament’s legislative power over the state was restricted to three subjects. “The President could, however, extend to it other provisions of the Constitution if they related to the matters specified in the Instrument of Accession. For all this, only ‘consultation’ with the state government was required,” he said. Rather added that the state government’s authority to give the ‘concurrence’ lasted once the state’s Constituent Assembly was convened. “It was an ‘interim’ power. Once the Constituent Assembly met, the state government couldn’t give its concurrence. Still less, after the Assembly met and dispersed in the year 1956.” Stating that the decision to extend constitution 77th amendment and constitution 103rd amendment to J&K should have been left to the elected government in the state, Congress leader G N Monga said the BJP-Government was taking sensitive decisions in haste just for “petty political benefits”. “Nobody is against granting reservation in promotions for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and reservation for economically-weaker sections of the society. However, such decisions should be left to the elected government as in the present case, the concurrence for extending these amendments were given by the governor Satya Pal Malik, the government of India’s own nominee,” he said. “Such sensitive and crucial decision should have been left to the elected government in the state. But for petty political gains, the BJP government at the Center is taking decisions in haste which could prove counter-productive. With elections round the corner BJP wants to reap maximum benefits without caring for constitutional requirements,” he said. Former legislator Er Rasheed also questioned the amendment made in the reservation act through an ordinance issued on the recommendations of the state governor. “It is not the issue whether amendments in reservation Act are harmful or beneficial to the people of state but the question is that if governor has any moral or legal authority to do so in absence of an elected government,” he said. “New Delhi must restrain from misusing the position of the governor and should not compel him to make inroads in the special status of the state constitution.” Peoples Democratic Front (PDF) President Hakeem Yaseen said the Governor administration must leave such decisions to elected government. “We were not against granting reservation in promotions and reservation for economically-weaker sections of the society. But the way it was done and the way the constitution of J&K is being fiddled, it is eroding the credibility of the democratic institutions. It was a constitutional decision and an elected government should have taken it,” he said. “The concurrence for extending these amendments was given by the governor Satya Pal Malik, the government of India’s own nominee, after the state administrative council (SAC) approved the proposal earlier this month. The governor administration must not take constitutional decisions and leave these to elected assembly,” he said. The PDF chief said that by passing such amendments it seems BJP-Government was clearing way for revoking Article 35A and Article 370. “However, if any such misadventure is done, it will have serious repercussions and could further flare up violence and public uprising in the state. People will not tolerate and will be forced to come on roads,” he warned.
Won’t give WPRs permanent residency: Govt Monitor News Bureau Srinagar, Mar 1: The Government has said that the amendments approved by the State Administrative Council (SAC) will not bring West Pakistan Refugees under the scope of permanent residency. An official handout read, “These amendments do not affect who is covered as a Permanent Resident. They do not bring West Pakistan Refugees under the scope of permanent residency. In the case of IB, only permanent residents will be able to get the benefits of this extension of reservation benefits as applicable to LOC residents.” The handout further added: Amending the JK Reservation Act through an Ordinance to add the words “and International Border” after the word “LAC” so that the benefits of reservation available to residents of LAC are extended to IB. This would benefit residents in Jammu, Samba, Kathua. “Through a Presidential Order, apply the 77th Constitutional Amendment 1995 to J&K. This would give the benefit of reservation in promotion to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in government service,” the handout said. It further read: Through a Presidential Order, apply the 103rd Constitutional Amendment 2019 to J&K. This would give the benefit of 10% reservation to Economically Weaker Sections among the general category people. These were recommended by the SAC in its meeting last week to the Union Government. There is no other change in any matter. On Feb 28th, The Union Cabinet amended a clause of the Article 370, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir, for giving reservation in promotion benefits to Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) and approved State Government proposals to accord 10 percent reservations to Economically Weaker Sections among General categories and three percent reservations to the people living on the International Border (IB) along with the people of Line of Control (LoC) in Government jobs and educational institutions