The Indian government introduced Section 3A in the J&K Reorganization (Adaption of State Laws) Order, 2020 and J&K Civil Services (Decentralization and Recruitment) Act. Through a gazette notification, the government announced that if a person fulfills any one of the following clauses, he will be considered as the domicile of Jammu & Kashmir:
- Any person who has been a resident of the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) for a period of at least 15 years
- Any person who has studied in the UT of J&K for at least 7 years and appeared for secondary (Class 10th) or Higher Secondary (class 12th) Board examination
- Any person registered as a migrant with the Relief and Rehabilitation Commissioner (Migrants)
- Any person who resides outside of UT of J&K for employment, business, or other professional or vocational reasons, but whose parents fulfill the above-mentioned conditions
- Children of Officials of central government officials, PSU, All India Service, autonomous body of the central government, statutory bodies, public sector banks, central universities and recognized research centers of the central government who have served in J&K for at least 10 years
This new definition also included that government jobs up to Group-4 will be reserved for those who are domicile of the UT of J&K. The law mentions that only domicile persons will be eligible to hold a post with a pay scale of up to Group-4 (Rs 25,500). Group-4, in terms of position, is equivalent to a Constable in Police.
Along with these changes, the Act also shifted the issuing authority of domicile certificates from the Deputy Commissioner or any other officer specially notified by the State government to the Tehsildar.
Before the Abrogation of Article 370, the Jammu & Kashmir Assembly had the authority to define a J&K resident. According to the previous definition, a Permanent Resident of the state was “a person who was a state subject as on May 14, 1954, or had resided in the state for at least 10 years and acquired immovable property in the state legally.”
Criticizm by Other Political Parties
Political parties of Jammu & Kashmir have criticized the amendment and said that the law doesn’t provide adequate protection as was promised earlier. Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Conference (JKPC) chief spokesperson, Junaid Mattu, said that only the lowest rung jobs – till Group-4 – were reserved for the locals.
While JKAP had been vehemently demanding Domicile Rights on land and jobs for people of Jammu and Kashmir, the order issued by the union government reflects a casual exercise carried out at bureaucratic level without taking aspirations and expectations of people into consideration. Syed Altaf Bukhari, President of Jammu Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP)
Domicile Law Compared to Other States
Uttarakhand grants domicile status to a person who has been a permanent resident of the state for the last 15 years, or to a woman who has married a man who is resident of the state, or to a person who is a resident of the state but is residing out of state for employment, or other purposes. Himachal Pradesh also has a domicile law similar to Uttarakhand. Whereas Assam has a stricter regime. Any person who has resided in the state for at least 20 years, or whose parents or forefathers resided in the state for at least 50 years, or who has lawfully acquired a property in the state, is granted a domicile certificate.