Parliament passes three bills on Jammu and Kashmir

Synopsis

Parliament passed a bill to include two groups, namely Gadda Brahmin, and Koli, in the list of Scheduled Tribes in Jammu and Kashmir. The approval was granted to the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, extending recognition to these communities as Scheduled Tribes. ​The Upper House also cleared The Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2024 and the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Castes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024 by voice vote.

kashmirAP

New Delhi, The Parliament on Friday cleared a bill to add four groups including Paddari and Pahari in the list of Scheduled Tribes in Jammu and Kashmir. The house approved the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, which adds two other communities — Gadda Brahmin and Koli — to the Scheduled Tribes list.

The Upper House also cleared The Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2024 and the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Castes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024 by voice vote.

The Lok Sabha had cleared the bills earlier this week.

The Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill-2024 seeks to provide reservation to Other Backward Classes in panchayats and municipalities in Jammu and Kashmir and bring consistency in the local body laws of the Union territory with the provisions of the Constitution.

Currently, there is no provision for reservation of seats for OBCs in panchayats and municipalities in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, adds Valmiki community as a synonym of Chura, Balmiki, Bhangi, and Mehtar communities in the list of Scheduled Castes in Jammu and Kashmir.

The bill seeks to amend the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Castes Order of 1956, which lists the castes deemed to be Scheduled Castes in Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

The three bills were taken simultaneously for discussion and passage in the Upper House.

Replying to the discussion on the Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, Minister of Tribal Affairs Arjun Munda said the bill seeks to give justice to the communities who were demanding ST status for long.

“The scrapping of Article 370 has allowed us to bring these laws,” he noted.

Replying to the Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies laws (Amendment) Bill, 2024, Minister of State for Home Affairs Nityananda Rai said the government has taken several steps for the welfare of the OBCs in the Union territory and this amendment is another step in that direction.

There are three main amendments to the bill. Firstly, the bill ensures reservation for OBCs in panchayats and municipal bodies in Jammu and Kashmir. Secondly, the state election commission will be in-charge of conducting elections to panchayats and municipalities, he said.

Thirdly, the removal process of state election commissioner will be according to the constitutional provisions and can only be removed under circumstances similar to those of a judge of a high court, Rai added.

He also listed out the development works undertaken after removal of Article 370 in the union territory and said Jammu & Kashmir is now peaceful and on the path of development.

Rai said incidents of terrorist activities and stone pelting have come down.

Replying to the discussion on The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Virendra Kumar said the communities will get the benefits of so many schemes with the passing of the bills.

“We do not do vote bank politics but try to strengthen the weaker section of the society,” he stated.

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Harry Byrne

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