Last Updated: Feb 06, 2024
The Lok Sabha has taken up the Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2024 for consideration and passing. The Bill 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 the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir and to bring consistency in the local bodies’ laws of the Union territory with the provisions of the Constitution. The Bill is aimed at providing justice to the citizens of Other Backward Classes of Jammu and Kashmir for the first time after 75 years of independence. Moving the bill, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai said the OBCs were ignored so far in J&K. He said after the abrogation of Article 370, J&K is on the path of development and the OBC community will get a reservation in local bodies through this legislation. The Minister said, as per the Constitution, the power to prepare and conduct local body polls should be with the State Election Commission. He said, however, currently in J&K, it is with the Chief Electoral Officer as per the existing law. He added that under the provisions of the bill, this power will now be with the State Election Commission of J&K. He described the Bill as progressive legislation.
Initiating the discussion, Jasbir Singh Gill of Congress said the OBC quota in J&K local bodies is a good move. He, however, demanded some provisions for the representation of minority Sikhs in local bodies in the UT. He talked about financial autonomy for the local bodies in J&K. Participating in the discussion, Jugal Kishore Sharma described the bill as historic. He alleged the Congress, NC, and PDP of not doing justice to the OBC community in the UT.