All central security forces in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh will now get protection from arrest under the Code of Criminal Procedure, The Indian Express reported on Wednesday.

Earlier, only armed forces were entitled to protection under Section 45 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. The Union home ministry has now extended it to personnel of the central armed police forces and all “armed forces of the Union of India” deployed in the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

Section 45 of the Code of Criminal Procedure states that “no member of the Armed Forces of the Union shall be arrested for anything done or purported to be done by him in the discharge of his official duties” except after obtaining the Centre’s consent.

The provision did not apply to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir as the Ranbir Penal Code, 1989, was in force there. On August 5, 2019, the Union government scrapped statehood and special status under Article 370 for Jammu and Kashmir. The former state was split into two Union Territories.

With the abrogation of Article 370, the Ranbir Penal Code is no longer in force in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

A senior official of the Central Reserve Police Force said that after the withdrawal of the special status, the Union law department moved a proposal to the home ministry for issuing directions about the applicability of Section 45 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to the newly-formed Union Territories.

“Now, the MHA in consultation with the government of J&K [Department of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs] and Ministry of Law and Justice [Gol] has agreed to our proposal and accorded approval to extend the protection given under Section 45 of CrPC, 1973, to all Force personnel deployed in UT of J&K and Ladakh,” the official said.