Indian Administrative Service officer Girish Chandra Murmu took oath as the first lieutenant governor of the new Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday. Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Gita Mittal administered the oath of office at Raj Bhavan in Srinagar, PTI reported.
The first Lieutenant Governor of the Union Territory of Ladakh, Radha Krishna Mathur, was also sworn in on Thursday morning. Mittal administered his oath of office at an event in Leh. Mathur is a former defence secretary.
“Development is composite, efforts will be made to carry out development work in all areas,” Mathur told ANI after the ceremony. “A development package will be made, and education and health will play an important role in it.”
India scrapped the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, and bifurcated the region into the two Union Territories. The implementation of the order to split the region was effective from midnight on Thursday.
President’s rule, which was in place in the erstwhile state since December 2018, was revoked ahead of the swearing-in through a presidential notification. President Ram Nath Kovind issued another notification later, taking over the control of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir for an indefinite period, through the lieutenant governor.
Unlike Ladakh, the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature but elections are yet to take place. Therefore, Kovind issued the second notification to take over control of the region, citing Section 73 of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.
The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notification late on Wednesday that replaced the state of Jammu and Kashmir with the Union Territory, and highlighted a series of measures, including the application of central laws. “... there are references in the state laws that have been applied to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, and the Union Territory of Ladakh to the expressions ‘permanent residents’ or ‘hereditary state subjects’..., wherever they occur, shall be omitted,” the notification said, according to PTI.
It added that references to the “state of Jammu and Kashmir” or “Jammu and Kashmir” or “state” shall be interpreted as “Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir” or “Union Territory of Ladakh”. Any mention of any existing law to the “legislature of the state or any House or Houses” will be construed as references to the legislative assembly or legislature of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
While Jammu and Kashmir will have a legislature, Ladakh will be ruled directly from the Centre. Since the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir no longer exists following the revocation of special status, the region’s legislature can make laws pertaining to matters contained in the state list or the concurrent list, except the subjects mentioned in entries one and two – ‘public order’ and ‘police’.
All India Services like the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service will be under the control of the lieutenant governors of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. The Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act says that matters related to rights over land, land tenures, transfer and alienation of agricultural land, land improvement and agricultural loans will be under the domain of the elected government of the Union territory.
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