EDEN IAS

J&K LOCAL BODIES LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL

J&K LOCAL BODIES LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2024 TAKEN UP FOR CONSIDERATION AND PASSING IN LOK SABHA

Introduction of J&K LOCAL BODIES LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL

The Lok Sabha has taken up the J&K 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.

J&K LOCAL BODIES LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL.

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.

CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISIONS

Articles 243D and 243T of the Constitution empower state legislatures to reserve seats in panchayats and municipalities for backward classes. However, current laws in Jammu and Kashmir do not provide for such reservations. The proposed legislation aims to rectify this discrepancy

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND OF J&K LOCAL BODIES LAWS (AMENDMENT) BILL-

  • Before passing of this bill currently, the chief electoral officer holds the municipal elections in Jammu and Kashmir, in addition to Lok Sabha and assembly polls. Whereas the state election commission headed by a state election commissioner is mandated to conduct elections to Panchayati Raj institutions.
  • The similar provision was incorporated in the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989. However, as per Municipal laws of J&K, the conduct of all elections to the Municipalities and Municipal Corporations lies with “the Chief Electoral Officer” of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • After the scrapping of the special status, there had been speculation of a delay in municipal elections in Jammu and Kashmir. As all the provisions of the constitution were applicable to the local bodies of the union territory, the authorities were required to prepare a list of socially and educationally backward classes, which would be used for providing a reservation to OBC’s before the elections.
  • The Constitution says superintendence, direction and control of the preparation of electoral rolls and the conduct of all elections to the Panchayats and Municipalities be vested in a “State Election Commission” consisting of a “State Election Commissioner”.

This will change, and the State Election Commissioner will be empowered.

  • The Bill also changes the process of removing the ‘State Election Commissioner. The Article 243-K of the Constitution envisages that State Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his office except on the parameters applied to remove a Judge of a High Court.
  • The existing Jammu and Kashmir Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, is at variance and says the State Election Commissioner shall not be removed from his office except by an order made by the Lieutenant Governor on the ground of proved misbehavior or incapacity after an inquiry conducted by a sitting or a retired judge of the High Court, on a reference made to him by the Lieutenant Governor.

SIMILAR PROVISION

Reservation for SC/ST’s

The parliament passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill 2023 which provides for reservation of 7 seats for the Scheduled Castes and 9 seats for the Scheduled Tribes.

ARTICLE 243 D-

Reservation of seats

(1) Seats shall be reserved for—

(a) the Scheduled Castes; and

(b) the Scheduled Tribes, in every Panchayat and the number of seats so reserved shall bear, as nearly as may be, the same proportion to the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in that Panchayat as the population of the Scheduled Castes in that Panchayat area or of the Scheduled Tribes in that Panchayat area bears to the total population of that area and such seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat.

(2) Not less than one-third of the total number of seats reserved under clause (1) shall be reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes or, as the case may be, the Scheduled Tribes.

(3) Not less than one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Panchayat shall be reserved for women and such seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Panchayat.

(4) The offices of the Chairpersons in the Panchayats at the village or any other level shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women in such manner as the Legislature of a State may, by law, provide:

Some different Tribes:

Provided that the number of offices of Chairpersons reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in the Panchayats at each level in any State shall bear, as nearly as may be, the same proportion to the total number of such offices in the Panchayats at each level as the population of the Scheduled Castes in the State or of the Scheduled Tribes in the State bears to the total population of the State:

Provided further that not less than one-third of the total number of offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayats at each level shall be reserved for women:

Provided also that the number of offices reserved under this clause shall be allotted by rotation to different Panchayats at each level.

(5) The reservation of seats under clauses (1) and (2) and the reservation of offices of Chairpersons (other than the reservation for women) under clause (4) shall cease to have effect on the expiration of the period specified in article 334.

(6) Nothing in this Part shall prevent the Legislature of a State from making any provision for reservation of seats in any Panchayat or offices of Chairpersons in the Panchayats at any level in favour of backward class of citizens

ARTICLE 243 T-

Reservation of seats

(1) Seats shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes in every Municipality and the number of seats so reserved shall bear, as nearly as may be, the same proportion to the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in that Municipality as the population of the Scheduled Castes in the Municipal area or of the Scheduled Tribes in the Municipal area bears to the total population of that area and such seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Municipality.

(2) Not less than one-third of the total number of seats reserved under clause (1) shall be reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes or, as the case may be, the Scheduled Tribes.

(3) Not less than one-third (including the number of seats reserved for women belonging to the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes) of the total number of seats to be filled by direct election in every Municipality shall be reserved for women and such seats may be allotted by rotation to different constituencies in a Municipality.

(4) The offices of Chairpersons in the Municipalities shall be reserved for the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and women in such manner as the Legislature of a State may, by law, provide.

(5) The reservation of seats under clauses (1) and (2) and the reservation of offices of Chairpersons (other than the reservation for women) under clause (4) shall cease to have effect on the expiration of the period specified in article 334.

(6) Nothing in this Part shall prevent the Legislature of a State from making any provision for reservation of seats in any Municipality or offices of Chairpersons in the Municipalities in favour of backward class of citizens.

SOURCES- PRS, THE HINDU, INDIAN EXPRESS, PIB