Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) president Altaf Bukhari has alleged that the Centre’s order issued Wednesday on domicile rules in the union territory was a “casual” and “cosmetic” exercise to “hoodwink” the people of the erstwhile state.
He said being a government-issued order and not a law made by Parliament, the new gazette notification regarding domicile rules for Jammu and Kashmir was not immune to a judicial review.
“While JKAP had been vehemently demanding domicile rights on land and jobs for the 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,” Bukhari said.
The Centre on Wednesday issued a gazette notification announcing a slew of amendments to 138 Acts of Jammu and Kashmir that include protecting jobs up to Group-4 (equivalent to the rank of constable in police parlance) for only those who are domiciles of the union territory.
The government has inserted a clause for domicile category under which a person has to stay in J&K for a period of 15 years. Children of all-India services personnel who have served there for 10 years also come under the category.
The notification said among the laws amended is the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment) Act.
“The order issued is totally unacceptable to JKAP. In the matter of employment – non-gazetted, gazetted posts in the service and admissions to professional colleges, a tangible legal and constitutional mechanism was supposed to be put in place to safeguard and protect these privileges of the people of Jammu and Kashmir who had been the permanent residents of J&K,” he said.
Bukhari also demanded that the order be put in abeyance till the country is out of the dangers arising out of COVID-19.
“It is most unfortunate that such an important order has been issued at a time when the whole country is battling for its survival and is under strict lockdown to stem spread of the deadly coronavirus disease,” he said.
“This Order in its entirety is a casual attempt, cosmetic in nature, to hoodwink the people of Jammu and Kashmir who genuinely believed that post October 31, 2019 their rights and privileges in the matter of employment and other rights would remain as it had been (before abrogation of Article 370),” he said.
The JKAP president said the introduction of a clause to include those who have 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 is totally contradictory and provides a tunnel for non-residents of J&K to easily encroach upon the job protections which were available to them prior to October 31, 2019.