Jammu and Kashmir non locals who are ordinarily staying in the Union Territory for jobs, education and business or labour purpose can get their voter identity cards here and vote in the next assembly elections.
So first Lets understand Voting system in Jammu and Kashmir
- Elections in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir are conducted in accordance with the Constitution of Indiato elect the representatives of various bodies at national, state and district levels including the 114 seat (90 seats + 24 seats reserved for “PoK”) unicameral Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly and the Parliament of India.
- Earlier, the assembly had a total of 87 seats, including Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
- Ladakh included 4 seats in this, but after making Ladakh a separate union territory, the total number of seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly was reduced to 83.
- Seven seats have increased after delimitation and with this, the total number of seats has gone up to 90. In this, 43 assembly constituencies have been created in Jammuand 47 in Kashmir. Nine seats are reserved for Scheduled Tribes.
Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir
- Article 370 of the Indian constitution gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, a region located in the northern part of Indian subcontinentand part of the larger region of Kashmir which has been the subject of a dispute between India, Pakistan and China since 1947.
- Kashmir is a Himalayan region that both India and Pakistan say is fully theirs.
- The area was once a princely state called Jammu and Kashmir, but it joined India in 1947 soon after the sub-continent was divided up at the end of British rule.
- India and Pakistan subsequently went to war over it and each came to control different parts of the territory with a ceasefire line agreed.
- There has been violence in the Indian-administered side – the state of Jammu and Kashmir – for 30 years due to a separatist insurgency against Indian rule.
- The article allowed the state a certain amount of autonomy – its own constitution, a separate flag and freedom to make laws. Foreign affairs, defense and communications remained the preserve of the central government.
- As a result, Jammu and Kashmir could make its own rules relating to permanent residency, ownership of property and fundamental rights. It could also bar Indians from outside the state from purchasing property or settling there.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party had long opposed Article 370 and revoking it was in the party’s 2019 election manifesto.
- They argued it needed to be scrapped to integrate Kashmir and put it on the same footing as the rest of India. After returning to power with a massive mandate in the April-May general elections, the government lost no time in acting on its pledge.
- Kashmir will no longer have a separate constitution but will have to abide by the Indian constitution much like any other state.
- All Indian laws will be automatically applicable to Kashmiris, and people from outside the state will be able to buy property there.
- The government says this will bring development to the region.
- The government is also moving to break up the state into two smaller, federally administered territories. One region will combine Muslim-majority Kashmir and Hindu-majority Jammu. The other is Buddhist-majority Ladakh, which is culturally and historically close to Tibet.
Here are the five things that changed in Jammu and Kashmir since then:
- Gupkar Alliance — The Kashmiri Mahagathbandhan
- The phenomenal rise of the BJP in elections since 2014 has seen the coming together of the Opposition parties, who were previously sworn rivals. It began with the coming together of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Janata Dal-United (JDU) in Bihar.
- The experiment was called Mahagathbandhan, the grand alliance. Its success saw a repeat in other states including big ones such as Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Karnataka.
2. Property Rights to ‘Outsiders’
- Under the previous arrangement of special status, people from outside Jammu and Kashmir were not allowed to buy land. Article 35A restricted such a purchase to “permanent residents” only.
- Following abrogation of the special status, the central government issued a notification amending the Jammu and Kashmir Development Act dropping the “permanent residents” phrase. Now, ‘outsiders’ can buy land in Jammu and Kashmir if it is not an agricultural land.
3. No Separate Flag or Constitution
- The special status allowed Jammu and Kashmir to have its own flag and a constitution which determined what portions of the Indian Constitution was applicable in the erstwhile state. It had its own penal code, called the Ranbir Penal Code.
- After the special status was abrogated, government offices including the civil secretariat hoisted only the Indian tricolor, the national flag, on their buildings. Jammu and Kashmir’s flag was missing.
4. Domicile Equality for Women
- Before August 2019, women residents of Jammu and Kashmir lost their right to buy property in the erstwhile state if they married a non-local man. Their husbands were not treated as residents of Jammu and Kashmir and also not allowed to inherit or buy property.
- Now, with a central government notification for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the spouses of women get domicile status even if they are non-local. They can now buy property and also apply for government jobs.
5. No Passport For Stone Pelters
- The government recently decided not to issue Indian passports to those indulging in subversive and anti-India activities including stone pelting.
- The Criminal Investigation Department of the Jammu and Kashmir Police issued an order on July 31 this year asking its local units to specifically look for a person’s involvement in cases of stone pelting among other crimes during verification related to passport services.
- The order translates into denial of security clearance for passport and other government services to those involved in stone pelting or subversive activities.
Non Locals Can Now Apply For Voter Id
- All those not enlisted as voters earlier are eligible to vote after the abrogation of Article 370, as provisions of the Representation of the People Act also applied to the UT now. There IS no need for one to have a domicile certificate or to be a permanent resident to get enlisted as a voter in J&K anymore.
- Many people from outside who work here can vote here and make voter cards… But they can only vote at one place at a time in the country. They have to get delisted from the voter lists of their native places
- According to the rescheduled time line issued by the Election Commission recently, an integrated draft electoral roll will be published on September 15, after undertaking mapping of old constituencies with new ones following delimitation.
- One can file claims and objections between September 15 and October 25, and these would be disposed of by November 10. The publication of the final electoral rolls will take place on November 25.