Reorganisation Act: Amendments in state laws extends land rights to outsiders

SRINAGAR: Apart from abrogating the Article 370 and Art 35 A, the Government of India has also amended the land ownership and transfer acts in J&K
paving way for outsiders to own and transfer land in the state.
The Reorganisation Act passed by the parliament on August 9, 2019 lists at least five state laws related to land rights that would be incorporated
in the successor union territory with amendments.
The five acts are; The Transfer of Property Act, The Jammu and Kashmir Alienation of Land Act, The Jammu and Kashmir Landed Estates Abolition Act,
The Jammu and Kashmir Land Grants Act, The Jammu and Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act.
Amendments to the acts will allow non-kashmirs to own properties in the state, get property on lease other than for commercial purposes, and
transfer them to any person of their choice. Earlier the rights were limited to state citizens.
In The Jammu and Kashmir Alienation of Land Act (Svt 1995) the Reogranisation Act has removed sections 4 and 4-A, which prohibited non-kashmiris
from owning land under the act.
“This amendment would enable Kashmiri women married outside the state to transfer the land they own to any non-Kashmiri. Before the abolition it
was not possible,” said a senior official of a Revenue department.
In the Jammu and Kashmir Land Grants Act, that allowed non-state subjects to take land on lease for commercial purposes, the government has removed
two sections which put certain conditions on lease rights. The sub-section 1 of section 4 of the Act, which has now been omitted, terminated the
land lease, if a non-permanent resident of the state was introduced as a promoter or a member of the society.
The clause (i) of sub-section 2 of section 4 specified that no person shall transfer the lease hold rights in any manner whatsoever expecting in
favor of a natural inheritor and any transfer made in the contravention of the said restriction shall, ipso facto, terminate the lease and the land
shall escheat to the state.
The Reorganisation Act has also omitted a full section of The Jammu and Kashmir Big Landed Estates Abolition Act that prevented transfer of land in
favour of non-state subject.
Apart from the land rights acts, the Reorganisation Act has also amended Jammu and Kashmir Cooperative Societies Act, by omitting a section which
prevented outsiders to become a member of cooperative societies registered in the J&K. The government has removed the act’s Sub-Clause (ii) of
clause (a) of sub-section (1) of section 17 which stated that only a permanent resident of the state of Jammu and Kashmir as defined in section 6
of the constitution of the state can be become a member.
“There are other qualifications for a person to become a member of the cooperative society. The omitted one however prevented a non-resident to
become a member. Its omission has paved way for them,” the Revenue official added.

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