Jammu and Kashmir: Union Territory with Legislature

With the passing of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019 in both the houses of Parliament, Jammu and Kashmir is all set to become third union territory alongside National Capital Territory of Delhi and Puducherry to have a legislature.

Article 239A of the Indian Constitution

The provisions under Article 239A empowers the union territory with the legislature to enact laws on certain subjects and provides for a Council of Ministers headed by a Chief Minister to aid and advise the Lieutenant-Governor on subjects related to such legislation.

And for subjects which are outside the purview of the Assembly, the Lieutenant-Governor does not need the aid and advice of the Chief Minister.

Comparison of Legislative Power of Jammu and Kashmir with Delhi and Puducherry

Extent of Legislative Power
  • Section 13 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill states that the provisions contained in Article 239 A of the Constitution that is applicable to Union Territory of Puducherry shall also apply to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The Union Territory of Puducherry has the power to enact laws on matters under the State List and the Concurrent List, barring subjects that are exclusively under the ambit of the Union Government.
  • Section 32 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill states that Assembly can make laws on any subjects in the State and Concurrent lists except on state subjects relating to “public order” and “police”. This is same as Delhi where subjects relating to “public order” and “police” directly come under the union government.
  • By the virtue of Article 239AA, the Delhi Assembly cannot legislate on matters in entry 18 of the State List, which is land. In J&K, the Assembly can do so.
Anti-Corruption Bureau

Similar to Delhi, the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir will exercise functions, act indiscretion, in matters related to “All India Services and Anti-Corruption Bureau”. All appointments and other administrative matters related to the ACB will be directly under the Lieutenant-Governor.

Services

Section 88(4) of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill makes it clear that the Lieutenant-Governor will have discretionary powers relating to composition, strength and allocation of officers of the Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service and Indian Forest Service.

But services are a bone of contention in Delhi. There is petition before the Supreme Court on this matter.

Consolidated Fund of Union Territory

Section 36(3) of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill states that if a Bill which, if enacted and brought into operation, would involve “expenditure from the Consolidated Fund of Union Territory”, it shall not be passed by the Legislative Assembly of the Union Territory “unless the Lieutenant Governor has recommended to the Assembly, the consideration of the Bill”. The same rule applies to NCT of Delhi.

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