Jammu & Kashmir: The bill passed by the Rajya Sabha will fundamentally alter the politics of the country, giving greater control to central government over the border state.
Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019: Rajya Sabha today passed the bill that will abolish the special status of Jammu & Kashmir under Article 370 and convert it into two union territories – Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh. While Jammu & Kashmir will be a Union territory with a legislature like Delhi, Ladakh will be a Union territory without a legislature, directly ruled by New Delhi through a lieutenant governor appointed by President. Once the bill is passed by Parliament and ascented by President, it will reduce the number of Indian states from 29 to 28 and the number of union territories will go up from 7 to 9.
Under Article 1 of the Constitution, that defines the union and its units, Parliament has absolute power to admit a new state in the union, change or alter the boundaries of states or create a new state by joining two or more states. However, this is for the first time that Parliament is changing the status of a state to an Union territory where it will have greater control.
How it will change number of states and UTs
The State of Jammu & Kashmir was listed at the fifteenth number in the list of states given under the first schedule of the Indian Constitution. After the passage of the new law by Parliament, the state of Jammu & Kasmir will be deleted from entry number 15 in the list of states and the entry numbers 16 to 29 will be renumbered as entry number 15 to 28.
In the list of Union territories under the first schedule, two new entries will be inserted after entry number 7. Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir will be at entry number 8 while UT of Ladakh will be at entry number 9 in the list of Union territories.
How it will alter the territory of Jammu & Kashmir
Under the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019, The Union territory of Ladakh will have two districts – Leh and Kargil. Remaining 20 districts including capital Srinagar will be part of the Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir. These districts are Srinagar, Jammu, Kathua, Samba, Udhampur, Reasi, Rajouri, Poonch, Doda, Ramban, Kishtwar, Anantnag, Kulgam, Pulwama, Shopian, Budgam, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara.
What will happen to Lok Sabha members from J&K
These new Union territories will have the same number of six Lok Sabha seats. Five Lok Sabha seat will be given to UT of Jammu & Kashmir and one Lok Sabha seat will be allocated to UT of Ladakh. After the passage of the bill, Election Commission of India will carry out the delimitation exercise for determining the area of five Lok Sabha seats in UT of Jammu & Kashmir while the entire area of Leh and Kargil under UT of Ladakh will be part of one Lok Sabha seat. However, already elected members of the 17th Lok Sabha will be considered to elected from the seats from where they have been elected even if the area of their seats is altered under the delimitation exercise.
What will happen to Rajya Sabha members from J&K
The Union territory of Jammu & Kashmir will have representation in the Rajya Sabha. However, in the list of council of states, entry number 21 where the state is situated, will be deleted and remaining entries from 22 to 30 will be renumbered as 21 to 30. And UT of Jammu & Kashmir will be entered in the entry number 31 in the list of states and UTs having representation in the Rajya Sabha. The UT of Jammu & Kashmir will have same four Rajya Sabha members in the Rajya Sabha.
The term of both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha will remain unaltered.
What will happen to Jammu & Kashmir Assembly
After the passage of the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Bill 2019, the new assembly of union territory of J&K will have 107 assembly seats which will be filled by direct election by the people of the successor union territory.
Under the existing formula, the state has 111 assembly seats but only 109 seats are filled through direct election. Of the 111 assembly seats, 24 assembly seats are kept vacant for the people of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK). Out of the remaining 89 assembly seats, elections are conducted for 87 seats – Kashmir (46), Jammu (37), Ladakh (4) and two members are nominated.
Under the new formula, out of total 107 assembly seats of the new union territory of Jammu & Kashmir will be filled by direct election by the people. And 25 seats will be kept vacant for the people of Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.