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J&K domicile law to benefit women married to outsiders

For the first time after 1947, children of Kashmiri women, married outside the Union Territory (UT) would soon be entitled to all benefits otherwise enjoyed by the permanent residents. This includes including government jobs and acquisition of immovable properties, by virtue of becoming qualified for a Domicile Certificate.

Until August 2019, when the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act was made in Parliament and Article 35A of the Constitution of India withdrawn by a Presidential order, only the permanent residents of the erstwhile state were entitled to get government jobs and scholarships. Besides, only the permanent residents were eligible to acquire land.

The controversial Article 35A, which defined "permanent residents" of the erstwhile state, provided special rights and privileges to them. The clause was added in 1954 through a Presidential Order under Article 370.

However, after the abrogation of Article 370, a number of laws and rules were either repealed or drastically amended to ensure that people, including the women of the Valley who married outside J&K, were equally eligible for these entitlements.

Consequent upon these changes in these rules in the last one year, permanent residents of J&K—as also anybody having lived in the erstwhile state for 15 years—Central government employees having worked there for 10 years, and students having passed Class 10 or 12 examination within the Valley have the right to the government jobs in the UT. They will be eligible for scholarships and acquisition of immovable properties.

Besides, children born to mothers who were married outside J&K had to hitherto produce Domicile Certificates of their ‘parents.’ Often they faced procedural issues while obtaining the document—as instances of revenue officials denying issuance of the same was rampant until applicants produced the certificate of their male parents.

According to highly placed government sources in the departments of Law and General Administration, the amendment in the rules would also benefit non-J&K women who are married to Kashmiri men.

Officials said that these proposed amendments would be made in the next month.

BJP’s Lok Sabha member from Kathua-Udhampur and Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Jitendra Singh, is believed to have convinced the UT authorities to affect certain amendments in the Domicile rules.

“After discussion with #JammuKashmir LG Sh Manoj Sinha & CS Sh Subrahmanium, the UT Govt has agreed in principle to amend/modify rules for ease in issue of #DomicileCertificate. Formal orders being issued soon particularly facilitate issuing Domicile Certificate to children producing PRC of any of the parents and women from outside married to PRC holder men”, the Minister tweeted on Monday..