The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, and the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023

Two bills that were introduced in the Lok Sabha on July 26, 2023. The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, amends the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which re-organized the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories: Jammu and Kashmir (with legislature) and Ladakh (without legislature). The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023, amends the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004, which provides for reservation in jobs and admission in professional institutions to members of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other socially and educationally backward classes.

Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023

The main amendments proposed are:

  • To increase the total number of seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly from 83 to 90.
  • To reserve seven seats in the Legislative Assembly for Scheduled Castes and nine seats for Scheduled Tribes.
  • To change the nomenclature of “weak and underprivileged classes (social castes)” occurring in sub-clause (iii) of clause (o) of section 2 of the said Act to “other backward classes” and to make consequential amendment in clause (q), of section 2 of the said Act.

Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023

The main amendments proposed are:

  • To provide for adequate representation of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly.
  • To ensure that members of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other socially and educationally backward classes get equal opportunities in employment and education.

Objectives of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization (Amendment) Bill, 2023

Enhance political representation

  • The bill aims to increase the total number of seats in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly from 83 to 90.
  • This increase is specifically intended to provide greater representation for Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) in the assembly.

Preserve political rights

  • The bill seeks to ensure that Kashmiri Migrants, Displaced Persons from Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir, and STs receive adequate representation in the Legislative Assembly.
  • This is intended to protect their political rights and facilitate their social and economic development.

Objectives of Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023

Promote equal opportunities

  • The bill aims to promote equal opportunities for members of SCs, STs, and other socially and educationally backward classes (OBCs) in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • This includes ensuring their equitable access to employment and admission in professional institutions.

Address social and educational backwardness

  • The bill seeks to address the historical social and educational backwardness faced by SCs, STs, and OBCs in the region.
  • It aims to provide them with the necessary support to overcome these challenges and achieve social and economic parity.

Impact of the Bills

The bills are expected to have a positive impact on the lives of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and other socially and educationally backward classes in Jammu and Kashmir. They will provide them with greater opportunities for education, employment, and political participation.

Criticisms of the Bills

Some critics of the bills have argued that they are not necessary, as the current number of seats in the Legislative Assembly is already adequate. They have also argued that the bills do not do enough to address the underrepresentation of other minority groups in Jammu and Kashmir, such as the Gujjars and the Bakervals.

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