In a historic move, the central government on Tuesday notified new land laws for Jammu & Kashmir, paving the way for way for any Indian citizen to buy land in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.
The new law, called the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020, comes into force with immediate effect.
On August 5, 2019, the NDA government at the Centre abrogated Article 370 which provided special status to the erstwhile state, bifurcating it into Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir.
Earlier, Article 35A prohibited the purchase of land for citizens from other parts of India. The article allowed the J&K legislature to define permanent residents of the state and only those who were eligible could purchase land or property.
The Act makes it mandatory for each state and Union Territory to set up its own real estate regulator and frame rules to govern the functioning of the regulator. It is aimed at encouraging greater transparency, citizen centricity, accountability and financial discipline in the sector.
In the third order, Ministry of Home Affairs repealed 12 state laws as a whole and others out of 26 adapted with changes or substitutes.
Laws which are repeal as a whole include The Jammu and Kashmir Alienation of Land Act, Jammu and Kashmir Big Landed Estates Abolition Act, Jammu and Kashmir Common Lands (Regulation) Act 1956, Jammu and Kashmir Consolidation of Holdings Act 1962, Jammu and Kashmir Right of Prior Purchase Act, Jammu and Kashmir Utilization of Lands Act.
In the Order, MHA stated, in exercise of the powers conferred by section 96 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 (34 of 2019), and of all other powers enabling it in that behalf, the Central Government hereby makes the following Order in respect of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, namely--This Order may be called the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of Central Laws) Third Order, 2020.
Reactions come in as Centre notifies new land law for J&K.
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— TIMES NOW (@TimesNow) October 27, 2020
The General Clauses Act, 1897 applies for the interpretation of this Order as it applies for the interpretation of laws in force in the territory of India, MHA stated.
Unacceptable amendments to the land ownership laws of J&K. Even the tokenism of domicile has been done away with when purchasing non-agricultural land & transfer of agricultural land has been made easier. J&K is now up for sale & the poorer small land holding owners will suffer.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) October 27, 2020
With immediate effect, the Acts mentioned in the Schedule to this Order shall, until repealed or amended by a competent Legislature or other competent authority, have the effect, subject to the adaptations and modifications directed by the Schedule to this Order, or if it is so directed, shall stand repealed.
"Where this Order requires that in any specified section or other portion of an Act, certain words shall be substituted for certain other words, or certain words shall be omitted, such substitution or omission, as the case may be, shall, except where it is otherwise expressly provided, be made wherever the words referred to occur in that section or portion," MHA stated.
"The provisions of this Order which adapt or modify any law so as to alter the manner in which, the authority by which or the law under or in accordance with which, any powers are exercisable, shall not render invalid any notification, order, commitment, attachment, bye-law, rule or regulation duly made or issued, or anything duly done before the 31st day of October 2019; and any such notification, order commitment, attachment, bye-law, rule, regulation or anything may be revoked, varied or undone in the like manner, to the like extent and in the like circumstances as if it had been made, issued or done after the commencement of this Order by the competent authority and in accordance with the provisions then applicable to such case," MHA added.
Won’t impact agricultural land: J&K L-G Manoj Sinha
Meanwhile, Jammu & Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha has clarified that the new land laws being introduced in the Union Territory will not impact agricultural land.
Speaking on the sidelines of a press meet, the L-G, when asked about the impact of the new rules, said it was a decision taken to encourage industries.
“I want to say this forcefully and with full responsibility that agricultural land has been kept reserved for farmers; no outsider will come on those lands. The industrial areas that we have defined, we want that like rest of the country, here too industries come so that Jammu & Kashmir also develops and employment is generated," the L-G said.
The clarification comes after union home ministry issued gazette notification repelling four laws that dealt with land related issues and amended the Jammu and Kashmir development act. In section 2 of the act, sub clause (I), (ii), (iii) and (IV) have been amended. "In clause (da) (a) omit ," being permanent resident of the state and (b) for 4.5 meters X10 square meter of floor areas of about 50 square meters in case of flattened accomodation," substitute "as may be prescribed," the notification stated.
MHA officials said that post this notification, domicile certificate will not be needed to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir. "Non-agricultural land in municipal areas of Jammu and Kashmir can now be bought by anyone. There is no domicile requirement after this notification," a government official said.
The laws which have been repelled are the J&K Alienation of Land Act, 1995, the J&K Big Land Estates Act, the J&K Common Lands (regulation) Act, 1956 and the J&K Consolidation of Holdings Act, 1962.
The notification issued by MHA also said that the government can now, on the written request of an Army officer not below the rank of Corp Commander, declare an area as Strategic Area within a local area, only for direct operational and training requirements of armed forces, which may be excluded from the operation of this Act and rules and regulations made there under in the manner and to the extent.
Inputs: ANI, News18, Agencies