J&K, areas of Ladakh illegally occupied by Pak: Govt

Union Minister of Sate for Home G Kishan Reddy. (PTI photo)

The government on Tuesday made it clear that the boundaries of the union territories of J&K and Ladakh included areas illegally occupied by Pakistan and any misrepresentation of maps may attract legal action.

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for Home Affairs G Kishan Reddy said the Union Territory of Ladakh comprised two districts – Leh and Kargil

“The Leh district includes the Gilgit, Gilgit Wazarat, Chilhas and Tribal Territory districts that are under illegal occupation of Pakistan,” he said.

Likewise, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir comprises the territories of the Indian state of J&K before the commencement of the Constitution of India, except areas that are specified in the Union Territory of Ladakh.

“These include areas of other districts that are under illegal occupation of Pakistan,” Reddy said.

The Minister said the Criminal Law Amendment Act of 1961 had provisions for action against publishing a map of India that is not in conformity with the maps brought out by the Survey of India.

Reddy said as many as 216 cases relating to the publishing of maps that were not in conformity with the maps as published by the Survey of India have come to the notice of the government.

Responding to a separate question, Reddy said the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes has recommended that the newly created UT of Ladakh be brought under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.

However, he said that according to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council Act, 1997, as amended from time to time, continues to be applicable in the successor Union Territory of Ladakh.

The LAHDC Act, 1997, provides for the establishment of Autonomous Hill Development Councils in the Ladakh region. Autonomous Hill Development Councils came into existence in Leh in 1995 and in Kargil in 2003.

“The powers given to these councils are more or less in line with the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution. After the amendment of the LAHDC Act, 1997 in 2018, these councils are perhaps the most empowered Autonomous Hill Development Councils in the country,” Reddy said.

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