President to administer J&K through Lieutenant Governor

President Ram Nath Kovind

Fresh orders were issued on Thursday to enable the President to assume powers in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir "to prevent any constitutional and administrative vacuum" following the bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The President's Rule under Article 356 of the Constitution cannot be imposed in a union territory and the government has invoked Section 73 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019 that enables the President to take over the reins of the administration as well as Article 239 and 239A of the Constitution.

This was done as the new Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has to have a Legislative Assembly, which is presently not in place.

"In order to prevent any constitutional and administrative vacuum, it is necessary to invoke section 73 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 read with articles 239 and 239A of the Constitution for the proper administration of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir," a gazette notification issued on early Thursday said.

The President will operate through the Lieutenant Governor. Former IAS officer G C Murmu has taken over as the LG of Jammu and Kashmir.

Before this, President Ram Nath Kovind also issued a separate order to revoke the President's rule imposed in the undivided Jammu and Kashmir. The central rule was imposed in Jammu and Kashmir in June 2017 after the resignation of the then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti when the BJP withdrew support to the PDP led government, which was later extended.

According to Section 73, the President may, by order, suspend the operation of all or any of the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act "for such period as he thinks fit" and make such incidental and consequential provisions as may appear to be necessary or expedient for administering the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the provisions of this Act.

"I hereby proclaim that I -- (a) assume to myself as President of India all functions of the Government of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and all powers vested in or exercisable by the Lieutenant Governor of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir; (b) declare that the powers of the Legislature or Legislative Assembly of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir shall be exercisable by or under the authority of Parliament," the President's order said.

"It shall be lawful for me as President of India to act to such extent as I think fit through the Lieutenant Governor for administering the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019," it added.

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