Record 55 bills cleared in 6 months of Governor’s rule

The administration also enacted laws on the subjects over which the previous PDP-BJP government had brought ordinances.

Umer Maqbool
Srinagar, Publish Date: Dec 19 2018 12:18AM | Updated Date: Dec 19 2018 2:30AM
Record 55 bills cleared in 6 months of Governor’s ruleRepresentational Pic

From security matters to doing away with procedural wrangles to empowerment of panchayati Raj institutions, the Governor administration cleared a record 55 bills on varied subjects in the six months of Governor’s rule that is expiring on Wednesday.

A number of the legislations approved are aimed at facilitating smooth functioning of institutions like universities, anti-graft bodies and religious institutions like Wakf in absence of an elected government.

The administration also enacted laws on the subjects over which the previous PDP-BJP government had brought ordinances.

The main legislations approved during this period are:

DELEGATION OF POWERS ACT

As usual, the first law enacted after the imposition of Governor’s rule in J&K was aimed at giving legal cover to delegation of powers by Governor to his advisors. The law was enacted to allow advisors to exercise powers of ministers during Governor’s rule.

PUBLIC SAFETY (AMENDMENT) ACT

The law was amended by former Governor NN Vohra to pave way for lodging state subjects detained under the controversial Public Safety Act in jails outside the state. Under the amendment, the government did away with a legal provision prohibiting it from lodging state subject detainees in jails outside the state.

DRUGS AND MAGIC REMEDIES (OBJECTIONABLE ADVERTISEMENT) ACT

This legislation was enacted to prohibit advertisement of drugs leading to miscarriage in women or prevention of conception in women or alleged to be possessing magic qualities.

STATE TRUST FOR PERSONS WITH AUTISM, CEREBRAL PALSY, MENTAL RETARDATION AND MULTIPLE DISABILITIES ACT  

The Act provides for constitution of a body for the welfare of persons with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities.

MUSLIM SPECIFIED WAKAFS AND SPECIFIED WAKAF PROPERTIES (MANAGEMENT AND REGULATION) (AMENDMENT ACT)

The legislation was approved by the SAC for running day-to-day affairs of Wakf Board during Governor’s rule. It empowered the Governor to appoint any eminent Muslim, including from his advisors in the state, as chairman of the Board.

AMENDMENTS IN UNIVERSITIES ACTS

The SAC also approved amendments in three separate laws governing functioning of Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST), Baba Ghulam Shah Badshah University (BGSBU) and Cluster Universities.

According to these amendments, the Governor would be vice-chancellor of these varsities whenever the state is under Governor’s rule or President’s rule.  

AMENDMENTS IN RTI, SVC AND OMBDUSMEN ACTS

As already reported by Greater Kashmir in today’s edition, the SAC amended the RTI Act, SVC Act, Municipal Corporation Ombdusman Act and Panchayat Ombdusman Act to pave way for appointment of heads and members of these bodies whenever state is under Governor’s rule or President’s rule.

J&K PREVENTION OF CORRUPTION (AMENDMENT) ACT

The Governor’s administration amended the anti-corruption law to re-christen the Vigilance Organization as Anti-Corruption Bureau.

THE LADAKH AUTONOMOUS HILL DEVELOPMENT COUNCIL (AMENDMENT) ACT

The legislation was aimed at empowering the Hill Councils of Leh and Kargil districts in Ladakh region. While Hill Council Leh was created during President’s rule in the nineties, the Hill Council Kargil came into existence during PDP-Congress rule. The amendment vested the Hill Councils with massive administrative, financial and taxation powers.

STATE LAND (VESTING OF OWNERSHIP TO THE OCCUPANTS) (REPEAL) ACT

The legislation was brought to repeal the Roshini Act which allowed the transfer of ownership rights of state land to its occupants subject to the payment of a cost. The timing of repealing the law came under question from different quarters.

PROTECTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS (AMENDMENT) ACT

The amendments cleared in the State’s Human Rights Law prohibits the Commission from entertaining complaints of human rights violations that have taken place more than a year ago. The changes in the law also make it mandatory for the state government to inform the SHRC about the action taken on its recommendations within three months.

J&K (PREVENTIVE DETENTION LAWS) (AMENDMENT) ACT

The Act was enacted to retain the ordinance brought by the PDP-BJP government in May this year to sidestep judiciary in appointing chairman and members of the advisory board constituted under the Public Safety Act. The PDP-led government brought the ordinance after then Chief Justice of J&K High Court Baddar Durez recommend the name of Justice (retd.) Muzaffar Hussain Attar as head of the Board. The amendment sidesteps chief justice’s role in appointing former judges as heads and members of the PSA advisory board.

As per original Act, it was mandatory on part of the state government to consult Chief Justice while appointing chairman and members of the board.

CRIMINAL LAW (AMENDMENT) ACT & PROTECTION OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE AGAINST CHILDREN

The State administration also came up with two legislations to replace the ordinances promulgated in the PDP- BJP rule for dealing sexual violence against children. While the J&K Criminal Law (Amendment) Act provides death sentence for child rapists, the Protection of Sexual Violence Against Children also deals with similar crimes.

SSF ACT

The state government also came up with a law to create “Special Security Force” for security of the Governor and his immediate family members. As per the law, the command and supervision of the force shall vest with an officer, to be appointed by government, with the prior concurrence of the Governor as Director of the Force.

PROHIBITION OF BENAMI PROPERTY TRANSACTIONS ACT

The SAC also enacted a stringent law to prohibit Benami property transactions. According to the law, the offenders will get maximum seven years’ rigorous imprisonment (RI) and pay fine equivalent to 25 percent of the fair market value of the Benami property.

AADHAR ACT

The SAC also came up with its own Aadhar law during Governor’s rule. According to the law, every person residing in the state shall be entitled to obtain Aadhar number by submitting his demographic and biometric information by undergoing process of enrolment.

STATE COMMISSION FOR WOMEN AND CHILD RIGHTS ACT

For the first time, the J&K government created a commission to deal with rights violations against children. According to the law, the rights violations against women and children would be dealt by a commission whose head would be appointed by the government on recommendations of a committee headed by Social Welfare Minister.

 CRIMINAL LAWS (SEXUAL OFFENCES) (AMENDMENT) BILL

J&K became the first state to make sexual exploitation of women by people in positions of authority, having a fiduciary relationship or public servants, a criminal offence. The amendments make sextortion a non-bailable crime, with punishment not less than three years. 

Sextortion is a corruption in a form where the government officials, judges, educators, law enforcement personnel force people for sexual favours in return of something which is under their authority to grant.

WHAT ARE GOVERNOR’S LAW-MAKING POWERS

A senior official in the state administration told Greater Kashmir that Governor is empowered to exercise powers of the state legislature during Governor’s rule.

“The laws during this period are valid only for a period of two years from the day the Governor’s rule ceases to exist,” he said, adding these laws will remain valid December 18, 2020.

“But they can be repealed or retained by state legislature before that.”

The official said the legislations approved this time are five times more than the laws enacted in 1990 during the six-month Governor rule.

“11 laws were enacted between January 19, 1990 to July 18, 1990,” he said, adding those laws included the Public Safety (Amendment) Act and the Disturbed Areas (Amendment) Act.

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