On 4 June 2019, the Ministry of Home Affairs introduced the “Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019” in Lok Sabha. The Bill amends the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004, and substitutes an Ordinance promulgated on March 1, 2019. The Bill partially amends a Presidential Order of 1954 for amending the state’s Reservation Act.
The key features of the bill
- The Act provides for reservation in admission to professional institutions and promotions and appointments in state government post for specific reserved categories. Professional institutions comprise government dental colleges, polytechnics, and medical colleges.
- Expansion of reservation:
The Act provides for reservation in promotions and appointment in particular state government posts to persons belonging to socially and educationally backward classes. It describes socially and educationally backward classes to include persons living in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Control (LoC). The Bill amends this to include those persons living in areas adjoining the International Border, within the scope of this reservation.
- Additionally, the Act states that any person who has been appointed on the basis of residence in an area adjoining the Line of Control (LoC), must serve in such areas for minimum 7 years. The Bill extends this condition to persons living in areas adjoining the International Border as well.
- Exclusion from reservation:
According to the Act, that any person whose annual income above 3 lakh rupees or another amount as informed by the state government, would not be included within socially and educationally backward classes. However, this exclusion doesn’t apply to persons living in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Control (LoC). The Bill states that this elimination will not apply to persons living in areas adjoining the International Border also.
Criticism of the Bill
- If there is any changes in the Presidential order-1954, then Government of India, should consult the State government, but there is no discussion because of Jammu and Kashmir under Governor rule. So, this act is undemocratic and against the democratic process.
- There is an opposition of the bill that reservation to Schedule Caste/Schedule Tribes/Economically weaker Section provision will violate article 370
- In the absence of elected government in the state, Governor consent to prolong a law of Parliament. This creates controversy while changing the constitutional arrangement between Jammu and Kashmir Union.