New Delhi, August 9: With President Ram Nath Kovind giving assent to the legislation for bifurcation of the crown state into Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, the two Union territories will come into existence on October 31. This is in its own way ought to be a tribute to Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary.
With the historic decision getting a welcoming nod from the Parliament earlier this week, the bold and far-reaching decision of bifurcation of J&K seeks to redraw the map and future of a region at the centre of a protracted militancy movement. The President has given assent to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, a home ministry official said. “In exercise of the powers conferred by clause (a) of section 2 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 (34 of 2019), the Central Government hereby appoints the 31st day of October, 2019, as the appointed day for the purposes of the said Act.”
PM Modi said, “As Jammu and Kashmir will see more and more development, I do not think it will remain Union Territory for long. Ladakh will remain a Union Territory.” Addressing the nation, PM Modi said, “The dream of Shyama Prasad Mookerjee, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Sardar Vallabhai Patel and crores of Indians has now been fulfilled.”
According to the legislation, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature like Puducherry and Ladakh will be a UT like Chandigarh, without legislature. In both the Union Territories, key subjects such as law and order will be with the Centre.
The UT of Jammu and Kashmir will have a Lieutenant Governor and the maximum strength of its assembly will be of 107 which will be enhanced to 114 after a delimitation exercise. Twenty-four seats of the Assembly will continue to remain vacant as they fall under Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
The current effective strength of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly is 87, including four seats falling in Ladakh region, which will now be a separate UT without a legislature. The UT of Ladakh will have Kargil and Leh districts. The Act said Jammu and Kashmir UT will have reservation in the assembly seats.
The Lieutenant Governor of the successor UT of J-K may nominate two members to the Legislative Assembly to give representation to women, if in his opinion, women are ‘not adequately’ represented in the Legislative Assembly. It also said that the Lok Sabha will have five seats from the UT of J-K, while from Ladakh the Lower House of Parliament will have one seat.