-Changes In Citizenship Laws Of Jammu & Kashmir Implemented!

After a long struggle of achieving the task of making J &K an integral part of India by abrogation of Article 370 & 35A from the Constitution of India, the Central Government on 11th of May 2020 has finally made appropriate orders regarding giving the right of citizens “the right to call themselves” the citizen of India, the right to hold a valid domicile of their residence and above all to clearly ascertain the exact figure of a citizen in the Union Territory of the Jammu & Kashmir”. The decision has cleared the way for the inclusion of bonafide people who migrated into the territory.

Following guidelines have been issued –

1.     People belonging to West Pakistan, the Valmikis,  women of Kashmir marrying outside communities, Non-Registered Kashmiri Migrants and the displaced people will be eligible to apply for  citizenship under the New domicile laws;

2.    Such applicants who are living in the valley of Jammu & Kashmir for last fifteen years, or studied  either in class 7th, 10th or 12th  shall have the right to apply for citizenship;

3.    Children of central government officers (Armed forces, paramilitary forces, IAS, IPS) and employees of the Public sector Undertakings and banks, Central Government, etc. who have served in J&K for at least ten years and their children shall be able to get this citizenship;

4.    Such Migrants whose names have been registered by the Relief & Rehabilitation Minister need not fulfill the abovementioned requirements( necessity to live there for 10 or 15 years) and shall be automatically eligible to apply for a domicile certificate;

Manner of Applying for Citizenship and timing Involved-

Every such eligible person shall apply to the concerned officer notified for citizenship who shall after proper verification shall issue a domicile certificate within 15 days of application.

Once the certificate is granted the person shall be able to avail all rights & benefits for e.g. writing state level exams, participation in local elections, etc.

If the officer fails to produce the registration certificate within 15 days shall be penalized by a penalty of an amount up to fifty thousand rupees from his salary amount.

Background- What was the Situation Before?

On 31st of March 2020 came the sudden announcement, in the middle of a nationwide lockdown to fight the coronavirus by the Union home ministry quietly rolled the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization (Adaptation of State Laws) Order 2020 with an aim to bring all the states & UTs together and give equal rights to all the citizen of India.

Earlier the law introduced in 1954, empowered the state government of J&K to define “permanent residents” of Jammu and Kashmir and reserve certain rights and privileges for their citizens specifically.

These outdated laws were in operation till August 5, 2019, last as the term permanent resident covered those who were state subjects of Jammu and Kashmir in 1954 and their descendants. It provided that those who had lived and owned land in Jammu and Kashmir for at least 10 years in 1954 were covered there. Also, several rights, such as the right to own land in Jammu and Kashmir, hold government jobs, and get state scholarships, were limited to such permanent residents only.

Effect of the Amended Rules:

This new move by the Central Government of India could be seen as a step towards removing the special status given earlier to the state and providing equal status to all the states and UTs within the territory of India. Earlier in April 2020, the Government of India had also made changes to the J&K Public Safety Act (PSA) & the special privileges given to the Chief Ministers under the State legislature’s Members Pension Act 1984, of the earlier state.

As a result, the immediate implication of this change will mostly be replicated by the administrative set-up, which was available for only J&K natives to date;

The New Domicile laws have replaced the term “permanent residents” of the former state with the term “domiciles” of the new Union Territory  according to which “who has resided for a period of fifteen years in the UT of J&K or has studied for a period of seven years and appeared in class 10th/12th examination in an educational institution located in the UT of J&K including their children;

Through the new domicile laws, all local government jobs will be available to non-natives of the UTs including those in police and administration of J&K which means they will now be able to apply for& serve in such positions as station house officers and senior superintendents of police, besides secretaries, head of departments, deans and professors in state-owned universities.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has also by an order amended the Jammu and Kashmir Property Rights to Slum Dwellers Act. By eliminating references to the term “permanent residents”  and making it easier for non-local slum dwellers to also gain property rights in Jammu and Kashmir.

The only exception lies to the lowest level, a non-gazetted government which shall for the time being reserved for the state domiciles. Otherwise, any citizen of India would be eligible for the remaining gazetted and non-gazetted jobs.


eStartIndia Team

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