Answer: The J&K Reorganisation Act, which contains provisions to divide the state into two Union Territories came into effect from October 31, 2019.
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Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019
- On August 5, 2019, Indian government took a historic decision by scrapping special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370.
- The J&K Reorganisation Act, which contains provisions to divide the state into two Union Territories, comes into effect from October 31, 2019.
Salient Features of the Act:
Reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir:
- The Act reorganises the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into:
- the Union Territory (UT) of J&K with a legislature,
- the UT without a legislature. The UT of Ladakh will comprise Kargil and Leh districts, and the UT of J&K will comprise the remaining territories of the existing state of J&K.
- The UT of J&K will have a legislature like Puducherry and will be headed by a Lieutenant Governor.
- Ladakh will not have an Assembly and will be directly governed by the Union Home Ministry through the Lieutenant Governor (LG) like in case of Chandigarh.
- The Indian Constitution and the Indian laws would be applicable in the UTs.
- The act provides for a Legislative Assembly for the UT of J&K.
- The total number of seats in the Assembly will be 107.
- Of these, 24 seats will remain vacant on account of certain areas of J&K being under the occupation of Pakistan.
- Further, seats will be reserved in the Assembly for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in proportion to their population in the UT of J&K.
- The Assembly will have a term of five years, and the Lieutenant Governor(LG) must summon the Assembly at least once in six months.
- The Legislative Assembly may make laws for any part of the UT of J&K related to:
- any matters specified in the State List of the Constitution, except “Police” and “Public Order”,
- any matter in the Concurrent List applicable to UTs.
Council of Ministers:
- The UT of J&K will have a Council of Ministers of not more than 10% of the total number of members in the Assembly. The Council will aide and advise the LG on matters that the Assembly has powers to make laws. The Chief Minister will communicate all decisions of the Council to the LG.
- The High Court of J&K will be the common High Court for the two UTS.Further, the UT of J&K will have an Advocate General to provide legal advice to the government of the UT.
- The Legislative Council of the state of J&Kwill be abolished and all acts pending in the Council will lapse.
Extent of laws:
- The Schedule lists 106 central lawsthat will be made applicable to the two UTs on a date notified by the central government.
- These include the Aadhaar Act, 2016, the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and the Right to Education Act, 2009.
- Further, it repeals 153 state laws of J&K.
- In addition, 166 state laws will remain in force, and seven laws will be applicable with amendments.
- These amendments include lifting of prohibitions on lease of land to persons who are not permanent residents of J&K.