J&K Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill 2024 and two other bills related to J&K also passed in the Parliament

Last Updated: Feb 09, 2024

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The Parliament passed the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill 2024’, the ‘Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Caste Order (Amendment) Bill 2023’ and the ‘Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill 2023’ with the approval of Rajya Sabha today. The Lok Sabha has already passed these legislations.

The ‘Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill 2024’, seeks to amend certain provisions of the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989’, the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Act, 2000’ and the ‘Jammu and Kashmir Municipal Corporation Act, 2000’. The legislation is intended to provide reservation to the Other Backward Classes in the Panchayats and the Municipalities in Jammu and Kashmir and to bring consistency in the local body laws of the Union Territory with the provisions of the Constitution. Replying on the discussion, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityanand Rai said, the Modi government has taken historic steps to provide justice and rights to the OBC communities. He said, the government has adopted the zero tolerance towards terrorism and abrogated the Article 370 resulting in peace and normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir. He pointed out that terrorist activities have reduced significantly in Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, moving the bill, Mr Rai said, the Bill is aimed at providing justice to the people from Other Backward Classes of Jammu and Kashmir. He said, as per the Constitution the power to conduct local body polls should be with the State Election Commission. However, currently in J&K, it is with the Chief Electoral Officer as per the existing laws. He added that under the provisions of the bill, this power will now be with the State Election Commission of J&K.

The Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Caste Order (Amendment) Bill adds Valmiki community as a synonym of Chura, Balmiki, Bhangi, and Mehtar communities. Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Dr Virendra Kumar moved the Bill in the House. Replying to the discussion on the Bill, Dr. Kumar said, the government has taken several steps for the welfare of SC communities in the last nine years which uplifted their socio-economic status. He said, abrogation of Article 370 has brought transformative changes in the landscape of Jammu and Kashmir. He said, this Bill will ensure development of Valmiki community.

The Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill seeks to revise the list of Scheduled Tribes in J&K to include the Pahari community. Union Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda moved the bill in the Upper House.  Replying to the debate on the bill, Mr Munda said that after the abrogation of Article 370, these three bills related to Jammu and Kashmir have been brought keeping in mind the interest of Local Bodies, Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

Participating in the discussion, Rajmani Patel of Congress said, the government is misleading the OBC and backward classes. Dr. Kalpana Saini of BJP lauded the government for abrogating Article 370 and 35-A from the Jammu and Kashmir. She said, this step brought the state in the mainstream of development.

Md. Nadimul Haque of Trinamool Congress said, people are suffering under the present regime in Jammu and Kashmir. He questioned the government saying if the normalcy has returned in the Jammu and Kashmir, why the State Assembly election is not held yet. Dr. John Brittas of CPIM raised the issue of shutdown in Ladakh and restoring the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir. R Girirajan of DMK said, atrocities against ST, ST and oppressed people are on the rise. Dr. Sasmit Patra of BJD welcomed the Bills terming it important for Jammu and Kashmir. Aditya Prasad of BJP welcomed the Bills and criticized the Congress government for depriving backward classes from getting reservation. Neeraj Dangi of Congress, Jawhar Sircar of Trinamool Congress, Ryaga Krishnaiah of YSR Congress, Rakesh Sinha of BJP and others spoke on the Bills.

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