By Bunty Mahajan
Jammu: In a significant move, the Jammu and Kashmir government has added a provision to the J&K Grant of Domicile Certificate (Procedure) Rules, 2020, making spouse of a local woman married to an outsider eligible to become domicile of the Union Territory.
The new provision also makes spouse of such women eligible for all government jobs in Jammu and Kashmir.
According to it, the Tehsildar concerned has been authorized to issue domicile certificate to such applicant upon showing the domicile certificate of his/her spouse and the valid proof of marriage.
According to a notification issued by General Administration Department following orders from the Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, the new provision has been added as Clause 7 in the table appended to sub rule (1) of the rule 5 of the Jammu and Kashmir Grant of Domicile (Procedure) Rules, 2020. This has been done in exercise of the powers conferred by the proviso to Article 309 of the Constitution of India, read with section 15 of the Jammu and Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralization and Recruitment) Act 2010.
Earlier, the spouse of a native woman married outside Jammu and Kashmir was not issued a domicile certificate as the gazette notification issued by the Central government on August 4, 2020 provided for the issuance of a domicile certificate to only those who have resided in the Union Territory for 15 years, or have studied for seven years and appeared in class 10/12 exam here. He was entitled to domicile certificate only subject to the fulfillment of above conditions.
Now, adding a new clause (7) into the Grant of Domicile (Procedure) Rules, the government has removed the condition of 15 years stay in the UT, or having studied for seven years and appeared in class 10/12 exam here. Now, any outsider marrying a native woman can apply for domicile certificate to the local tehsildar in the UT on very next day of his marriage.
The government move to grant domicile certificate also to the spouse of native women married outside Jammu and Kashmir was hailed by Bharatiya Janata Party here. The party’s UT president Ravinder Raina described the decision “historic’’, saying that PM Narendra Modi has given justice to the daughters of the soil whose rights in J&K ceased to exist on grounds of Article 370 and Article 35A once they were married elsewhere the country. Accompanied by former Deputy Chief Minister Ravinder Raina, former ministers Sunil Sharma and Priya Sethi, besides party spokesperson R S Pathania, he also expressed gratitude to the Home Minister Amit Shah and UT’s Lt Governor Manoj Sinha for adding the new provision in Domicile Rules.
IkkJutt chairman Ankur Sharma, however, said that “whatever good you do now in the name of removing gender inequality, the ultimate harm you people have done is by resurrecting Article 35A through the backdoor’’. He opposed the domicile provision as a whole, saying that it is not about jobs, but to maintain the Muslim majority character of Jammu and Kashmir.
In this context, he pointed out that public sector contribute to only 5-6 per cent of the total employment as 94-95 per cent of the jobs are generated by private sector. However, the domicile provision will be discouraging private investment by outsiders as they will not be getting all the rights available to a domicile until they reside in J&K for 15 long years, he said, adding one cannot put forward the argument of jobs after closing all routes of private sector investment which contributes to 95 per cent of employment.