National commissions to have jurisdiction over J&K now

Indian national flag and Jammu and Kashmir state flag stand hoisted at a building during restrictions in Srinagar, Thursday, Aug 8, 2019. (PTI File Photo)

With the revocation of controversial Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcation of the state, several national commissions would have jurisdiction over Jammu and Kashmir now while state commissions, including J&K Accountability and Information commissions, would cease to exist.

Article 370, which accorded special status to Jammu and Kashmir and allowed the erstwhile state to have its own constitution, flag and rights, was abrogated through a formal Presidential Order. 

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Under the Fifth Schedule, the reference of which has been made in the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Bill, 2019, 106 Central laws would become applicable to the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir and UT of Ladakh.

Vital national commissions constituted by the government of India from time to time whose jurisdiction could not be extended to J&K because of its special status would have jurisdiction over the UTs now providing immense benefits to its inhabitants.

National Commission for Minorities, which was constituted to safeguard the constitutional and legal rights of minorities by way of an Act enacted by the Parliament in 1992, would have jurisdiction over both the UTs now.

Similarly, the National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions would have jurisdiction over J&K and Ladakh. National Commission for ‘Safai Karamcharis’, which was established as per the provisions of the Act enacted by the Parliament in 1993, would also have jurisdiction over the two UTs.

Another important institution, which will have jurisdiction over the two UTs, is National Commission for Women, which was established as per the provisions of the Act enacted by the Parliament in 1990.

However, the Center faces a tough question – under what law to handle hundreds of RTI appeals pending before J&K Information Commission, which would cease to exist with the gazette notification of J&K Reorganisation Act. 

The J&K State Accountability Commission will cease to exist. However, J&K State Vigilance Commission and State Commission for Backward Classes will continue to function as the acts whereby these commissions came into existence don’t fall in the list of the state laws which are going to be repealed.

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