Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday ruled out any changes in the law governing permanent resident certificates in the state, PTI reported. Political leaders such as the National Conference’s Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party’s Mehbooba Mufti had objected to such an amendment.
Article 35A of the Constitution gives the state legislature the power to define the “permanent residents” of the state and provide them with special rights and privileges.
“At the outset, I would like to mention that the government is not making or even considering any changes to the Act governing permanent resident certificates in the state,” Malik wrote in reply to Abdullah’s objection letter. “It is an integral part of the legal structure of Jammu and Kashmir and there is no attempt whatsoever to tamper with this law.”
Malik said no changes would be made to the legislation governing the issue “without larger consultations with all stakeholders”.
An unidentified government official had said last week that the state’s Revenue Department was consulting people within the administration regarding possible “impediments” in the existing process of grating Permanent Resident Certificates, The Indian Express had reported.
Malik reiterated that many genuine applicants were facing difficulties in procuring the certificates. “It is in this context of having a hassle-free process of bona fide applicants that I believe the revenue department has sought comments from a few others,” he said. “This is a routine administrative matter and unnecessary meanings should not be read into it.”
Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said that the state could witness a 2008-like uprising if the governor refused to withdraw orders on the permanent resident certificate rules, Kashmir News Service reported. The state witnessed unrest and violence in 2008 after the central and state governments agreed to transfer land to the Amarnath Shrine Board to set up temporary shelters for Hindu pilgrims.
“An unwanted order for land transfer was also issued in 2008 and a public uprising across Kashmir forced the then government to withdraw the order immediately,” she said. “This time, when the governor has issued similar unwanted orders on permanent resident certificate rules and the Jammu & Kashmir Bank, I warn his administration of a 2008-like public uprising if it does not withdraw both the orders immediately and forthwith.”
Last month, Malik had approved a proposal to turn the J&K Bank into a public sector institution, which takes away the bank’s autonomy and makes it accountable to the state legislature.