Govt paves way for all Indians to buy land in J&K

A man rows his boat on Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir, India, September 12, 2020. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Athar Parvaiz
A man rows his boat on Dal Lake in Srinagar, Kashmir, India, September 12, 2020. Thomson Reuters Foundation/Athar Parvaiz

PAGD flays Centre's move as 'huge betrayal'; 'J&K up for sale,’ says Omar Abdullah 
 

New Delhi, October 27 (IANS):  In a significant move, the Centre has notified the new Land Laws for Jammu & Kashmir. In a gazette notification, the union home ministry has notified this on Monday. It paved way for any Indian to buy land in the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu & Kashmir.

The MHA notified what it calls UT of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020. The order comes into force with immediate effect.

"With immediate effect, the Acts mentioned in the Schedule to this Order shall, until repealed or amended by a competent Legislature or other competent authority, have effect, subject to the adaptations and modifications directed by the said Schedule, or if it is so directed, shall stand repealed," read the order.

The General Clauses Act, 1897 applies for the interpretation of this current Order since it applies for interpretation of laws in force in India, said the order. Meanwhile 12 state laws have been repealed as a whole.

Meanwhile those legislations which are being repealed as whole include the Jammu and Kashmir Alienation Of Land Act (V of Samvat 1995), the Jammu and Kashmir Big Landed Estates Abolition Act (XVII Samvat 2007), The Jammu and Kashmir Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1956, the Jammu and Kashmir Consolidation Of Holdings Act, 1962, among others.

PAGD, Omar Abdullah slam new land law

After the Centre notified new land laws for Jammu and Kashmir to pave way for any Indian to buy land in the Union Territory, the seven-party People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration on Tuesday strongly condemned the move as a "huge betrayal".

Terming the MHA order as a "huge betrayal", alliance spokesperson Sajad Lone said that it was a "massive assault" on the rights of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and "grossly unconstitutional".

"The Alliance has vowed to fight the step that is against Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh on all fronts," he said in a statement here.

"The repeal of Big Estates Abolition Act - first ever agrarian reform in the subcontinent -- is an insult to the sacrifices of thousands of freedom fighters and farmers who fought against an autocratic and oppressive rule and a crude attempt to rewrite history. The order made in exercise of powers under the Reorganisation Act, 2019, is yet another brazen violation of the principle of constitutional proprietary of fundamental importance to a constitutional democracy," he added

He added that with a serious challenge to the August 5, 2019 decisions before the Supreme Court and the vires of the Reorganisation Act under judicial scrutiny, the central Government was under an obligation to desist from such acts out of respect for the apex court.

"The unconstitutional measure is clearly designed as an attempt to preempt the outcome of the challenge before the Supreme Court. The assault on exclusive property rights apart, changes in urban development laws and creation of security zones is bound to prejudicially affect environment and ecosystem in environmentally fragile regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh in utter disregard of grave environmental concerns," the Kashmiri leader added.

Earlier, the MHA notified the UT of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020. The order comes into force with immediate effect.

"With immediate effect, the Acts mentioned in the Schedule to this Order shall, until repealed or amended by a competent Legislature or other competent authority, have effect, subject to the adaptations and modifications directed by the said Schedule, or if it is so directed, shall stand repealed," read the order.

The General Clauses Act, 1897 applies for the interpretation of this current Order since it applies for interpretation of laws in force in India, said the order. Meanwhile 12 state laws have been repealed as a whole.

Those legislations repealed as whole include the Jammu and Kashmir Alienation Of Land Act (V of Samvat 1995), the Jammu and Kashmir Big Landed Estates Abolition Act (XVII Samvat 2007), The Jammu and Kashmir Common Lands (Regulation) Act, 1956, the Jammu and Kashmir Consolidation Of Holdings Act, 1962, among others.

On October 24, seven mainstream political parties of Jammu and Kashmir announced the formation of People's Allaince for Gupkar Declaration to fight for the restoration of Article 370 of the Constitution in the erstwhile state.

Meanwhile, the National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Wednesday hit out the new land laws notified by the Centre for Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh, terming it a "deceit" and a "wanton breach of trust".

Calling the J&K Development Act, which has come into force with immediate effect, as hostile to the interests of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh, Abdullah, a former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, contended that the amendments to the land ownership law has put J&K "up for sale".

"With these new laws in place, tokenism of the domicile certificate has been done away with as purchasing non-agricultural land has been made easier. These new laws are unacceptable to people of J&K, Ladakh," he said.

"The BJP remains unchallenged in the opportunistic politics and that the issuance of the amended land rules notification smacks of its cheap politics and deceit," he said.

"Interestingly the Centre waited till the elections to LAHDC had concluded and the BJP had won a majority before putting Ladakh also up for sale. This is what Ladakhis got for trusting the assurances of the BJP," he said.

"The new laws are a consequence of the measures undertaken by the GOI on 5th of August without democratic bearings and much to the resentment and anger of the region's populace.

"The measure reflects the wanton breach of trust of the people of J&K by a dispensation which is brewing with abhorrence for the diversity of the country and the democracy. The measures are also part of a larger design aimed to destroy the local, distinctive cultural identity of Kashmir, thereby giving a ditch to the successive promises made by the successive Central governments from time to time," he said.

"Such measures reveal that it is not the people's aspirations which matters to the ruling dispensation at New Delhi, it is rather the land which they want to hold on and are interested in," Abdullah added.