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Jammu Kashmir Local Elections

  • 24 December, 2020

  • 12 Min Read

Local Elections in Jammu and Kashmir

What is the District Development Councils (DDCs)?

  • The Central government has amended Jammu and Kashmir’s Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, to establish District Development Councils (DDCs) in all districts in the union territory.
  • This is the first time such councils have been established in the country.
  • According to the amendment, every district in J&K will be divided into 14 territorial constituencies to elect members of the body in the maiden DDC elections to be held later this year.
  • Officials added the move was the final step in the implementation of the 73rd Amendment, which envisages the Gram Sabha as the foundation of the Panchayat Raj system and empowers Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women.
  • Top government sources said the move has been made keeping in mind the upcoming DDC elections. Officials said the central government’s move to establish DDCs is aimed at enhancing grassroots-level democracy across J&K.
  • For each district there shall be a District Development Council, having jurisdiction over the entire district excluding such portions of the district as are included in a Municipality or Municipal Corporation constituted under any law for the time being in force,” states the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Fourth Order, 2020.

What is Gupkar Alliance?

  • The regional parties of J&K had signed the Gupkar Declaration on 4 August 2019. The declaration was a bid to protect the special status of J&K by standing united.
  • Most political entities that signed the Gupkar Declaration in Jammu and Kashmir on 4 August 2019 have now formed an official alliance, aimed at restoring J&K’s special status and statehood.
  • The Gupkar Alliance, an amalgam of six regional parties, including the National Conference (NC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) aimed at safeguarding and restoring special status along with Article 35A of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Farooq Abdullah is the president of the alliance.

Powers of UTs of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh:

  • The Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and the Ranbir Penal Code will cease to exist.
  • The Union Territory of J&K will have a legislature while the UT of Ladakh will have no legislature.
  • Both the Union Territories will have Lieutenant Governors as administrators who will be appointed by the President of India. Their tenure will be determined by the President.
  • Four sitting members of the Council of States representing the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir shall be deemed to have been elected to fill the seats allotted to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

Legislative assembly of J&K:

  • The Delimitation of Parliamentary Constituencies Order, 1976 shall stand amended as directed in the Second Schedule of the Act.
  • The Election Commission may conduct the elections to the House of the People for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir as per the allocation of seats specified in the Delimitation of Parliamentary Constituencies Order, 1976 as amended by this Act.
  • The provisions which are applicable to “Union territory of Puducherry” shall also apply to the “Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The total number of seats in the Legislative Assembly of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir to be filled by persons chosen by direct election shall be 107.
  • Seats shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the Legislative Assembly of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • There shall be a Council of Ministers consisting of not more than ten per cent of the total number of members in the Legislative Assembly, with the Chief Minister at the head to aid and advise the Lieutenant Governor in the exercise of his functions in relation to matters with respect to which the Legislative Assembly has the power to make laws.

Abolition of legislative council:

  • On the abolition of the Legislative Council, every member thereof shall cease to be such members.
  • All Bills pending in the Legislative Council immediately before the appointed day shall lapse on the abolition of the Council.

High Court:

  • The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir shall be the common High Court for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh.
  • The Judges of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir for the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir holding office immediately before the appointed day shall become on that day the Judges of the High Court.
  • The expenditure in respect of salaries and allowances of the Judges of the common High Court shall be allocated amongst the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh on the basis of population ratio.

Powers of Lieutenant Governor:

  • The Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh shall be assisted by advisor(s) to be appointed by the Central Government.
  • Lieutenant Governor of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir may nominate two members to the Legislative Assembly to give representation to women, if in his opinion, women are not adequately represented in the Legislative Assembly.
  • The Chief Minister shall be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor and the other Ministers shall be appointed by the Lieutenant Governor on the advice of the Chief Minister.
  • The Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the Lieutenant Governor and the Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly.
  • Before a Minister enters upon his office, the Lieutenant Governor shall administer to him the oaths of office and of secrecy according to the forms set out for the purpose in the Fourth Schedule.

All India Services officials:

  • The members of the cadres of Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service for the existing State of Jammu and Kashmir, on and from the appointed day, shall continue to function on the existing cadres.
  • The centre will be in direct control of the Jammu and Kashmir police and law and order matters.

Source: TH

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