Controversial J&K Bill Shelved

Controversial J&K Bill Shelved

5 April 2010
The Telegraph (Kolkata)
Muzaffar Raina

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council today shelved a controversial bill which, if passed, would have deprived women of their privileges as permanent residents of the state if they married outsiders. A month after the bill was admitted in the Legislative Council, the National Conference-led government dropped it after a member of the Panthers Party argued that such a bill could be admitted only by the Legislative Assembly, not the council. Panthers Party member Syed Rafiq Shah also said that enacting the bill would require an amendment under Section 147 of the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution. The ruling alliance of the National Conference and the Congress agreed with his observations. Legislative Council deputy chairman A.S. Micky then dropped the bill saying it should be tabled in the Assembly. The Jammu and Kashmir Permanent Residents (Disqualification) Bill, 2010, was moved by Opposition member Murtaza Ahmad Khan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) on March 8. The government allowed it to be introduced, though the Congress was against it. The bill was scheduled to come up for discussion in the next session. The National Conference had supported a similar bill in 2004 but the Congress had opposed it then too. If the bill is enacted anytime in the future, Jammu and Kashmir women whose husbands are not domiciled in the state will not get preference in government jobs, won’t be able to contest Assembly elections or own immovable property in the state. The bill tabled in 2004 in the Assembly was also the PDP’s work but it failed to get passed in the Upper House after the Congress, then a PDP partner, backed out. PDP legislator Murtaza Khan criticised the decision to drop the bill. “I wanted a new act but not a constitutional amendment. I had also submitted the bill a month before it was introduced, giving the government enough time to decide its legality.”


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