SRINAGAR — In 2023, the Parliament passed key bills to grant political reservation to different groups in Jammu & Kashmir Union Territory.
Details available with the news agency KNO reveal that three J&K-specific laws were passed by the Parliament during the winter session to grant reservations to different groups in the Union Territory.
In a significant move, the Parliament passed The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill 2023 to reserve three seats for Kashmiri migrants and refugees from ‘Pakistan-Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (POJK)’.
While the Union Government claimed that the bill is aimed at preserving the political rights of these communities as well as for their overall social and economic development, the political groups in Kashmir questioned the method of nominations, saying it can be used to subvert public mandate in the UT. The bill empowers the Lieutenant Governor of the UT to nominate these MLAs.
Another key bill — The Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation (Second Amendment) Bill 2023 — was also passed by the Parliament to reserve 33 per cent of seats in J&K Assembly for womenfolk. The bill was passed given the fact that “The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill 2023 does not apply to the Assembly of Jammu & Kashmir UT.
The Constitution (One Hundred and Twenty-Eighth Amendment) Bill provides reservation for womenfolk in Parliament and State assemblies. The Bill wouldn’t come into effect at least before 2029 as it would require a delimitation exercise, which can be taken after the census report is published.
Apart from 33% reservation for womenfolk, J&K LG is also empowered to nominate two women as MLAs if he feels that they are not adequately represented in the House.
The Parliament also passed The Jammu & Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill 2023 to rechristen “weak and underprivileged classes (social castes)” to “Other Backward Classes”.
The amendment was made on recommendations of the Jammu and Kashmir Socially and Educationally Backward Classes Commission (SEBCC).